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Iran: Tehran Snubs U.S. Nukes Incentives

Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant 12 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's Foreign Ministry has said Tehran is determined to continue its nuclear program despite incentives offered by the United States and the EU.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said in a statement today that the country is determined to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and "no pressure, bribe, or threat" can make Iran give up.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States would drop objections to Iran's joining the World Trade Organization and consider allowing the country access to spare parts for its aged fleet of civilian aircraft.

Until now, only the European states negotiating with Iran had offered Tehran incentives.

But Rice said the decision is not a reward to Iran. Instead, she said the offer is aimed at supporting European diplomatic efforts.

"What we've tried to do in removing our objections to WTO application from the Iranians and to the provision of certain spare parts to Iranian commercial aircraft is to now more actively support that diplomatic effort," Rice said.

Carrot And Stick

Britain, France, and Germany have also said they will support any U.S. move to refer Iran to the UN Security Council if it resumes the uranium enrichment it suspended several months ago.

U.S. President George W. Bush has said the United States and Europe are now speaking with one voice.

"I look forward to working with our European friends to make it abundantly clear to the Iranian regime that the free world will not tolerate them having a nuclear weapon," Bush said.

Tehran denies U.S. accusations it is secretly trying to develop nuclear arms and says its program is purely to meet its civilian energy needs.