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. Washington close to decision on offering incentives to Iran: report
WASHINGTON (AFP) Feb 28, 2005
Washington is close to a decision on joining Europe in offering incentives to Iran in exchange for giving up plans to develop nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The new willingness comes after President George W. Bush's talks with German and French leaders in Europe last week and a meeting with key cabinet members and Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday.

"There's no timetable," a senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, "but we're looking for a decision."

Officials told the Post that after "really good" meetings in Europe last week the White House "wants to move quickly to finalize a list of incentives to offer Tehran as part of European talks with Iran," the daily said.

One of the main arguments for joining the diplomatic efforts was that Washington could be blamed if it does not and they fail, the Post said.

Incentives under consideration by the United States include eventual membership of the World Trade Organization and facilitation of Iran's efforts to obtain spare parts for its ageing passenger airplane fleet, the Post said.

"The kind of (economic and political) changes required for membership in the World Trade Organization are very much what we'd want to see anyway," the State Department official said. "So it's not giving Iran something. It's making clear this could lead to that, if they comply."

"We're profoundly skeptical that Iran is going to do anything, but we do want to do whatever we can do to help the Europeans succeed," the official was quoted as saying.

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