“It shouldn’t take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal,” President Bush said at a European Union summit in Vienna. “Our position is we’ll come to the table when they verifiably suspend. Period.”
Senior representatives of United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — the major powers behind the offer — conferred later on Wednesday and reportedly agreed that Iran should respond more quickly, according to the U.S. State Department.
“[The officials] reiterated a common view … [that] we expect a response within weeks, not months” dating from when the offer was first made on June 1, Reuters quoted spokesman Adam Ereli as saying.
Under the details of the European Union proposal, presented to Iran in early June, the country must halt all development of uranium enrichment that could lead to the development of a nuclear bomb.
The package, put forth by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, includes a number of incentives for Iran to suspend its nuclear development. The United States conceded that it would provide Iran with peaceful nuclear technology, lift some sanctions and join direct negotiations with Tehran for the first time in nearly three decades.
Earlier this week, President Bush warned that if Iran rejects the package, it will face U.N. Security Council action and political and economic sanctions.
Iran has rejected any permanent deadline to reply and says it will carefully examine the proposal before responding.
“We are studying the proposals. Hopefully, we will present our views about the package by mid-August,” Ahmadinejad told a crowd in western Iran in a speech broadcast live on state television.
Ahmadinejad added that the country will not give up its right to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.
“We want full use of our definite and legitimate rights. Today, our nation, relying on its competent youth, has achieved proficiency in the whole cycle of nuclear fuel,” he said.
Western diplomats say Iran’s delayed response could be a stalling maneuver to expand its nuclear fuel enrichment program.