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US, Europe to offer Iran nuclear option - report
Updated: 2005-11-10 14:51

The United States and European allies would allow Iran to pursue limited nuclear activities under a proposal they hope will head off a confrontation over Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons program, The New York Times reported in its Thursday edition.

Under the proposal, Iran would be permitted to conduct limited nuclear activities on its own soil, but would move the process of enriching all of its uranium to Russia, the newspaper said, citing U.S. and European officials.

The capacity to enrich uranium is considered a key step in the ability to produce nuclear weapons.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, will take the offer to Iran on behalf of the United States, Britain, Germany and France, the newspaper said.

US, Europe to offer Iran nuclear option - report
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to lawmakers in the Iranian parliament in Tehran, November 9, 2005.[Reuters]
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ElBaradei discussed the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday, the newspaper said. It cited officials who declined to be identified.

The U.N. watchdog -- the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA -- is to hold a board meeting later this month to discuss Iran's case. Rice urged that Iran be given a deadline of two weeks to respond before the board meets, the officials told the newspaper.

The State Department had no immediate comment.

The United States accuses Iran of secretly developing atomic weapons and wants Tehran to scrap its nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear activity is aimed at generating electricity.

Washington and the 25-member European Union have repeatedly warned Iran that it will be sent to the U.N. Security Council unless it complies with a September IAEA resolution urging it to improve cooperation with U.N. inspectors and to freeze all nuclear fuel work.

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