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. EU's Solana welcomes unofficial Iran nuclear response
BRUSSELS, July 2 (AFP) Jul 02, 2008
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana welcomed Wednesday an Iranian reaction to a new international nuclear offer but said that he wants to see it formalised in an official reply.

It came after Ali Akbar Velayati, a top advisor to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, suggested that a "compromise" could be found between Tehran and major world powers on Iran's sensitive nuclear activities.

"It is a good expression, no doubt about that, but I would like to have the response, the sooner the better, formalised," Solana told reporters in Brussels.

"I very much hope that the sentiment, the idea, that they are expressing will become true," he said.

In an effort to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany have re-worked an offer of incentives originally made in 2006.

It offers technological and other incentives in exchange for Tehran's suspension of sensitive uranium enrichment operations.

Solana has been battling to establish high-level talks aimed at getting Iran to accept the package, but the Islamic republic refuses to suspend enrichment as a precondition for negotiating.

Iran insists it has the right to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel to help meet its electricity needs and has so far defied Security Council resolutions which demand it halt the process.

At highly refined levels, such work can also make the fissile core of an atomic bomb but Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful and has vehemently denied that it is seeking to make weapons.

In France's Liberation daily Wednesday, Velayati wrote: "The technology and control of Iranian civil nuclear (development) must be preserved. They are something that has been acquired for Iran's peaceful goals."

"This imperative is expressed in Iran's participation in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which it has signed and which grants rights in exchange for engagements," the former foreign minister wrote.

"It is in this way that a compromise could be found between the common pre-occupations of Iran and the other states," he explained.

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