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U.S. Not Discouraged By Iranian Incentives Rejection

13 March 2005 -- A White House official says the United States is not discouraged by Iran's rejection of an American offer of economic incentives if Iran gives up efforts to enrich uranium.

White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley told U.S. television channel Fox today that the negotiating process is ongoing, and the Iranian reaction is no surprise.

On 11 March, Washington said it supports a European plan that would offer Iran incentives if it ends enrichment efforts. Yesterday, Iran rejected that, with President Mohammad Khatami saying his country has a right to make nuclear fuel for peaceful energy purposes.

"[The United States and the European Union want us to] give up our legitimate right to [enrich nuclear material for peaceful, civilian use]. And now, because the pride of our nation is at stake, we are not going to give up our rights. But at the same time we are willing to work with the world to give more assurances that Iran is not moving toward construction of nuclear weapons," Khatami said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said today that Iran is not afraid of having the affair referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.