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(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's foreign minister played down the proposal to offer Iran incentives if it suspends uranium enrichment, saying on Monday that it is his country's right to pursue nuclear technology.
Six world powers will meet in Vienna later this week in hopes of approving a package of incentives and penalties meant to persuade Iran to give up uranium enrichment, diplomats said Monday.
The diplomats, who demanded anonymity for divulging the confidential information, told The Associated Press the meeting will take place Thursday.
The meeting is a follow-up on talks in London Wednesday, where senior representatives of the five permanent UN Security Council nations and Germany said they made good progress in efforts to find common ground on rewarding Iran if it gives up uranium enrichment or punishing it if it doesn't.
The formula emerged after Russia and China opposed calls by the remaining Security Council members - the United States, Britain and France - for a resolution that would threaten sanctions and would be enforceable by military action.
"The main incentive for Iran is to recognize the essential right of Iran to have nuclear technology," Foreign Minster Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters. He was in Malaysia's administrative capital, Putrajaya, for a meeting of the Nonaligned Movement.
Mottaki said he has not heard about the plans to impose sanctions, but knows about the incentives.
"The time of (issuing) threats to other nations is over. Selective approach to humanitarian issues is over," he said.
He indicated that Iran would consider proposals or incentive ideas that fulfill two conditions - the recognition of its essential right to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and the strengthening of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, to which Iran is a signatory.
"These are two important elements in any proposal that we believe we can work sincerely with," Mottaki said, without elaborating, though he did state that Iran was committed to the nonproliferation treaty.
"We have supported it, we have been committed and still we are committed," he said. "We hope through these measures we can enjoy our membership and ... realize our rights."
Mottaki also praised the Nonaligned Movement for making it clear that "it is the essential right of all member states of NPT to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. That's the essential position of NAM," he said.
Iran has said it will not give up its right to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel as allowed by the Nonproliferation Treaty.