Development of the civil program and access to global nuclear technology — also a promise made by the EU 3 — would exclude uranium enrichment, which Tehran insists it will conduct despite opposition from the EU and the United States.
The promise came as part of several proposals for political and economic incentives aimed at establishing cooperation between the West and Iran and at continuing negotiations to encourage the U.S. rival to freeze nuclear fuel activity.
“We … hope that you will be ready to engage with our proposals, and that we can look forward to hearing your reactions at the proposed meeting of senior officials on Aug. 31 in Paris,” EU leaders said in a letter to Tehran, according to Reuters.
Iranian officials promised to respond to the EU’s proposal within two days, but said they would still resume work at a uranium conversion facility near the city of Isfahan.
“We will review this proposal today and tomorrow, and will definitely give our answer by Sunday,” Hossein Mousavian, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator told Reuters.
Iran has asserted its right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to engage in a peaceful nuclear program aimed at generating electricity. Officials dismiss U.S. and EU suspicions that its nuclear ambitions include using its facilities and know-how to develop a bomb.
On Friday, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy urged Iran to “listen to reason.” He said if Iran resumes its fuel work, “the international community will surely bring the issue to the Security Council.”
Britain, France and Germany and Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, are the lead negotiators for the European Union. They have threatened to end talks and refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions if its leaders restart enrichment at the Isfahan facility.
In an effort to avoid a Security Council confrontation, the EU bloc proposed help exploring peaceful uses of nuclear energy in medicine and agriculture and combating Iran’s drug problem and terrorism. The EU bloc also said it would support Iran in its efforts to join the World Trade Organization.
But the proposal also demanded that Iran end the pursuit of fuel cycle activities, remain a signed member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, adhere to IAEA safeguards and halt construction of a heavy water research reactor near the town of Arak.
“This proposal shows the world we have presented Iran with two stark choices. The first is the right choice, the second is the wrong choice,” an EU diplomat told Reuters. “If Iran chooses the second choice it can mean only one thing — that it desires nuclear weapons.”
The EU 3 have called a meeting of the IAEA on Tuesday to determine their next move.