Britain, France and Germany offer long-term support for Iran's civil nuclear program

European negotiators today offered Iran long-term support for its civilian nuclear program. This program includs access to nuclear fuel, in exchange for a binding commitment not to develop atomic weapons.

Britain, France and Germany handed the proposals, contained in a 34 page document titled "Framework for a Long-term Agreement," to Tehran on Friday. The package offers Iran trade, political and security cooperation, but in return it demands Tehran stop pursuing nuclear technology that could also be used for making nuclear bombs.

"Russia has committed itself formally to supplying nuclear fuel for the lifetime of Russian-built reactors in Iran. In order to provide Iran with additional assurances that external supplies of fuel could be relied upon in the long term, the E3/EU would develop with Iran a framework which would provide such assurance ...," the document added.

The three European countries have been pressing Tehran to abandon its uranium enrichment activities in exchange for economic aid, technical support and backing for Iran's efforts to join mainstream international organizations.

Uranium enriched to low levels can be used as fuel in nuclear reactors to generate electricity, but further enrichment makes it suitable for a nuclear bomb. The Europeans thus don't want Iran to have its own nuclear fuel cycle. Iran has long claimed that its nuclear program is solely for generating electricity and other civilian purposes and that it has a right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to run its own a fuel cycle. Intense negotiations between both sides have so far failed to break the deadlock.

A European diplomat, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitive stage of negotiations, urged Tehran to accept the package, AP reports.

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