United States To Review Iranian Response, but Says It Falls Short

Washington - The Bush administration said it will review Iran’s August 22 response to a package of incentives regarding its nuclear program, but said Iran’s proposal “falls short” of the conditions set by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1696.

According to an August 23 statement by acting State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos, the United States “acknowledge[s] that Iran considers its response as a serious offer, and we will review it.”

But, he added, the Security Council required “the full and verifiable suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities,” and Iran’s response “falls short” of that condition.

In Resolution 1696, the Security Council “made clear the conditions Iran must meet regarding its nuclear program,” Gallegos said.

According to Resolution 1696, Iran has until August 31 to suspend enrichment in exchange for incentives, or it risks possible sanctions.

Iran was replying to a June 6 package of incentives offered by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.  Iran’s counterproposal reportedly offered “serious talks” on its nuclear program but apparently resisted suspending uranium enrichment

Earlier in the day, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters, “As we have always said ... a return to the negotiating table is tied to the suspension of uranium enrichment."

At the White House, deputy press secretary Dana Perino said members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will meet August 31 to discuss the next steps to take on the issue.

“[T]hey're going to be talking between now and August 31st, but when they get together on August 31st - or before then, if they have more to say as to what the actual next steps will be, we'll let you know,” she said.

Perino also said President Bush spoke with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier in the day and discussed “the Iranian regime's statement on its nuclear program and the terms of the U.N. Security Council resolution.”

Bush and Annan also spoke about the situation in Darfur, Sudan, as well as efforts to assemble an international force for Lebanon. They agreed “quick decisions by the main potential contributors will be an important step.”

The full text of the statement on Iran’s nuclear program is available on the State Department Web site.