E.U. urges Iran to respond

(JTA) — European ministers urged Iran to respond to offers to negotiate its nuclear capabilities.

"We have a very generous offer on the table," said Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister who was chairing two days of European Union talks in Stockholm in Sweden’s capacity as the current E.U. chair. "We want cooperation with Iran on quite a number of things, including the development of civilian nuclear technology," Bildt said Friday, according to an Associated Press report.

Other European ministers at the meeting echoed the call, and said they had tried unsuccessfully to verify reports this week in the Iranian media that Iran was ready to make a counter-offer.

If Iran does not respond, major powers are widely expected to enhance sanctions against the Islamic Republic by next month.

The call follows a similar appeal to Iran from the U.S. State Department this week in the wake of a meeting in New York of reprersentatives of the "P5+1," the grouping of the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. 

The major powers reviewed last week’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that charged Iran with concealing its nuclear activity and continuingx efforts to militarize its nuclear program, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said on Wednesday.

"They took note of the latest report of the IAEA director general and again called on Iran to engage in direct talks based on mutual respect," he said. "They reaffirmed their political goal and underlined the necessity to achieve results in the diplomatic track. They stressed that a negotiated solution is still open to Iran."

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