Iran offered possibility of nuclear research reactors

Teheran offered advanced technology in exchange for suspending uranium enrichment.

ali larijani 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
ali larijani 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
A package of incentives offered to Iran if it agrees to suspend uranium enrichment has been released for the first time and revealed that world powers are prepared to provide Teheran with advanced technology and possibly even nuclear research reactors. The package - which was put together by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - was given to the Iranians on June 6 and some details were leaked at the time, but the full proposal showed a broader range of economic, political and energy incentives. It was released late Thursday. They include improving Iran's access to the global economy by promoting investment, Teheran's membership in the World Trade Organization, and the possible lifting of US and European restrictions on the export of civilian aircraft and telecommunications equipment. The proposal was sent to the 15 members of the UN Security Council a day after foreign ministers of the six countries that offered the package met in Paris to discuss Iran's failure to respond after five weeks. They decided Iran had given no indication that it was ready "to engage seriously" on the proposal and asked the Security Council to adopt a resolution making it mandatory that Iran suspend uranium enrichment. France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, the current council president, said Thursday he expects the council to begin discussions on a resolution early next week. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shrugged off the decision to refer Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council, saying his country would never abandon its plans for the peaceful exploitation of atomic power. He reiterated Thursday that Iran still plans to respond in late August to the incentives offer. The three-page incentives proposal confirmed reports that the six powers are prepared to help Iran build state-of-the-art light water nuclear power reactors and to give legally binding guarantees that nuclear fuel will be provided for these civilian reactors meant to produce energy. This would be done by making Iran a partner in an international facility in Russia where all Iranian uranium could be enriched, and establishing a five-year buffer stock, it said. The six powers would also authorize the transfer of goods "and the provision of advanced technology to make (Iran's) power reactors safe against earthquakes." The proposal also confirmed that a demand by the United States, France, Britain and Germany that Iran commit to a prolonged freeze on uranium enrichment was softened to require only suspension during negotiations with Teheran. In an introduction to the proposal, the six countries said "our goal is to develop relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful natural of Iran's nuclear program." "We propose a fresh start in negotiations on a comprehensive agreement with Iran" which would be deposited with the International Atomic Energy Agency and endorsed in a Security Council resolution, it said. To create "the right conditions" for negotiations, the six powers said Iran should make a commitment to address all outstanding IAEA concerns about its nuclear program. It should also "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities ... and commit to continue this during these negotiations." The suspension should be verified by the IAEA, they said. In addition, Iran should resume implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows the IAEA to conduct surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities, and inspect other facilities not officially declared as nuclear sites, the six powers said. On their side, the six powers said they will reaffirm Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, make a commitment to support the construction of new light water reactors in Iran through international partnerships, and agree to suspend discussion of Iran's nuclear program in the Security Council. They said they will also "provide a substantive package of research and development cooperation, including possible provision of light water research reactors, notably in the fields of radioisotope production, basic research and nuclear applications in medicine and agriculture." As for non-nuclear incentives, the six powers said they will support a conference "to promote dialogue and cooperation on regional security issues," establish a long-term energy partnership between Iran and the European Union and other willing partners, and cooperate "in fields of high technology." They also offered to support agricultural development, "including possible access to US and European agricultural products, technology and farm equipment."