Major powers to make "substantial and serious offer" to Iran
By Myra MacDonald
LONDON (Reuters) - Major powers are ready to make "a substantial and serious offer" to Iran during talks next week in return for concessions on its nuclear program, a Western diplomat said on Wednesday.
He declined to give details of the offer - aimed at reviving efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to long-stalled talks over Iran's disputed nuclear work.
"We will take an offer with us which we believe to be a substantial and serious offer," the diplomat said of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan. "This is an offer which we think has significant new elements in it."
The West has imposed heavy economic sanctions on Iran to persuade it to abandon those parts of its program the powers suspect are intended to give it nuclear weapons capability.
Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes only.
"Diplomats are committed to finding a diplomatic solution, but the government of Iran really has to show that it's doing what it says it's doing," the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity.
The five permanent members of the Security Council along with Germany - the so-called P5+1 - will hold talks with Iran in Almaty on February 26.
Western officials in Washington have told Reuters they plan to offer to ease sanctions barring trade in gold and other precious metals in return for Iran shutting its Fordow uranium enrichment plant - a proposal already rejected by Tehran. Continued...