From: Reuters
Published May 3, 2008 05:58 AM

Iran to UK: Don't cross "red lines" in atomic offer

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran told Britain not to cross any "red lines" when preparing incentives for the Islamic Republic aimed at ending a row with the West over Tehran's nuclear program, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday.

World powers met in London on Friday and said they would offer new incentives to encourage Iran to halt nuclear work which the West fears is aimed at building atomic bombs.

Iran refused the last such offer made in 2006 and officials have in the past described a demand that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program as a "red line." They say it is Iran's right to carry out such work and say the aim is peaceful.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr said he met his British counterpart, David Miliband, in Kuwait recently. Britain and Iran attended a multilateral meeting there on Iraq last month.


Miliband had said world powers would meet in May and planned to "write a letter" to Tehran, Mottaki said.

"I told him that 'You have used a word, and I think it is a forbidden word ... Don't pass those red lines. Be careful about that'," Mottaki said without saying what those "red lines" were.

Mottaki was speaking at a joint news conference with a visiting Yemeni minister that was broadcast and translated by Iran's English-language Press TV channel.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, insists it wants only to make fuel for power plants. The enrichment process, if desired, can also be used to make material for bombs.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran for failing to heed the demand to suspend enrichment work.

The incentives offered to Iran in 2006 included civil nuclear cooperation and wider trade in civil aircraft, energy, high technology and agriculture, if Tehran suspended uranium enrichment and negotiated with the six world powers.

The group of six comprises the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

A European diplomat said the heart of the previous offer -- helping Iran develop civil nuclear power, including with state-of-the-art technology -- remained. Miliband said details would be revealed by the six only to Iran's government.

Iran discussed a package of proposals with a visiting Russian official this week containing Tehran's own ideas on how to resolve the nuclear row. It has not given details on those plans.

(Reporting by Edmund Blair; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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