Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Iran's Uraniun Consortium Package

MADRID: Iran warns about attack, refers to nuclear 'solution'.

Iran warned Wednesday of a fierce response and radically higher oil prices if the country was attacked, but also signalled possible progress in its five-year nuclear standoff with the West.

"Iran, if there were any kind of activity of any sort, is not going to be quiet and would react fiercely," Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said here when asked what Tehran would do in the event of an attack.

He added that oil prices, which have been driven to record levels partly because of fear about the loss of Iran's 4.0-million-barrel-a-day output, would rise radically if Israel or the United States launched a military strike.

His comments on the sidelines of an oil conference here came as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki raised hopes of arriving at a negotiated "multi-faceted solution" to the nuclear stalemate.

He earlier told US media that "a new process" was underway after six world powers presented Iran with a package of measures to end the deadlock last month, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

Reacting to this latter statement, the White House expressed scepticism but it was more positively received in Brussels where EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana described it as "interesting."

Six world powers last month came up with a solution for ending the crisis, offering technological incentives in exchange for Tehran suspending uranium enrichment, which the West fears could be used to make an atomic bomb.

Iran has unveiled its own package, which is a more all-embracing effort to solve global problems and suggests the setting up of a consortium in Iran for enriching uranium.

"We see the possibility of arriving at a multi-faceted solution," Mottaki told a press conference at the United Nations in New York.

Referring to the package presented by Solana, he said examination of it "will enter the final stage soon."

"The approach adopted by Mr Solana was different from the past. It was respectful," he added.
There has been a surge in speculation recently that Israel might be planning a military strike against Iran's nuclear sites after it emerged that Israeli fighter planes had carried out practice runs.

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