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Iran Due To Reply To Nuclear Offer

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei (file photo) (Fars) August 22, 2006 -- Iran is due to give its formal response today to an offer of trade and technology incentives from major world powers in exchange for halting uranium-enrichment work.

Tehran has given no sign it is ready to accept the offer and suspend enrichment. It has, however, suggested its reply to the offer will be "multi-dimensional."

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on August 21 that Iran would pursue its nuclear-energy program.

U.S. President George W. Bush said the same day that Iran would face "consequences," such as possible sanctions, if it ignored a United Nations Security Council demand to halt enrichment by the end of this month.

"The UN resolution calls for us to come back together on 31 August," Bush said. "Dates are fine, but what really matters is will. And one of the things I will continue to remind our friends and allies [of] is the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran."

The United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany presented the incentives package in June, aiming to persuade Iran to stop enrichment work that Western countries fear could be used for nuclear weapons. Iran denies any effort to make a nuclear bomb.

(compiled from agency reports)

What Would Sanctions Mean?

What Would Sanctions Mean?

Economic sanctions could further undermine Iran's already shaky economy (Fars)

MOVING TOWARD SANCTIONS: If the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran, domestic support for Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will wane, according to ALEX VATANKA, Eurasia editor for Jane's Information Group.
Vatanka told a February 24 RFE/RL briefing that "economic sanctions will hurt the average Iranian" and, consequently, many "will blame the ruling clerics" for making life difficult and "impairing the country's long term development."
Vatanka said sanctions would be a serious challenge to the Iranian government. If harsh economic sanctions were imposed, Iran's poorest population will be hurt the hardest -- and might react "as they did in the 1970s and protest in the streets." Sanctions on travel, Vatanka said, would hurt a many Iranians because "Iran is a nation of small traders" who depend on the ability to travel to earn an income. According to Vatanka, unemployment in Iran is estimated at 30 percent, "so small trading is essential to survival." Although current U.S. sanctions "haven't worked," he said, "Iranians fear an oil embargo." He stressed that "oil revenues are a major part of the economy, so it is critical to look at this sector."
Should negotiations with the European Union and the UN fail, Vatanka believes that Iran would follow a "North Korea model," since Ahmadinejad's base of support among the "Islamist militias" has been "urging withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]." The Iranian government's "tactic" so far, Vatanka said, is governed by the belief that "by shouting the loudest, you'll get concessions [from the West]."


Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 60 minutes):
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THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's coverage of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.