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EU offers Iran long-term nuclear deal

Iran reviewing proposal; U.S. urges acceptance

Iran has a processing plant in the city of Isfahan.


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- European Union negotiators offered Iran long-term support for its civilian nuclear program Friday if the country pledges not to develop atomic weapons.

An Iranian government spokesman said officials were reviewing the proposal, and the U.S. State Department called on Iran to accept the offer.

According to a summary of the proposals released by the British Embassy in Tehran, cooperation on nuclear matters would be enhanced between Iran and the EU-3 -- Britain, France and Germany -- allowing Iran access to the international nuclear technologies market.

The EU-3 also would "fully support long-term co-operation in the civil nuclear field between Iran and Russia," the summary said.

In February, Russia signed a deal with Iran to transfer nuclear fuel to Iran's $800 million power plant reactor in the southern city of Bushehr and move the spent fuel back to Russia.

The United States has called on Russia not to go ahead with providing nuclear fuel for the plant, fearing Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is convinced Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

Hamid-Reza Asefi, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Iranian Student News Agency the 30-page proposal was being analyzed by various agencies.

He would not respond to reports that France's foreign minister called the proposal "very generous."

Asefi said Iran will respond to the proposal in the next few days.

The EU-3 has been negotiating with Iran to end its uranium enrichment program and faced a Monday deadline for presenting a comprehensive proposal of nuclear, economic and political incentives in exchange for a permanent freeze on it.

Iran agreed in November to suspend the enrichment program while negotiations continued, but now it says it is no longer bound by any agreement because the EU-3 missed the deadline. (Full story)

Asefi reiterated plans to resume uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant in central Iran once the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, installs new monitoring equipment. That's expected in a week. (Full story)

At the EU-3's request, the IAEA will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday in Vienna, Austria, to discuss the uranium enrichment situation, an IAEA spokesman said. (Full story)

In uranium conversion, the material is converted into UF-6 gas, which can be enriched to make fuel for generating electricity -- or used to create highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

Although Isfahan is not a uranium-enrichment facility, the IAEA says it still falls under a political agreement -- and an IAEA resolution -- to suspend enrichment-related activities.

The EU-3 gave a copy of the offer to the Bush administration and briefed administration officials, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said Friday.

The United States has no diplomatic ties with Iran, and President Bush once branded it part of an "axis of evil," along with North Korea and Iraq.

"This proposal is a good one for the Iranians," Burns said. "We hope they consider it and urge that they do so."

He repeated the administration's threat that if Tehran breaks its nuclear agreements to resume uranium conversion, the United States and European Union may refer the case to the U.N. Security Council.

Journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr and CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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