World powers have reached an agreement on a package of incentives and penalties to be presented to Iran in an effort to resolve the dispute over its controversial nuclear program.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett announced the agreement after a meeting Thursday in Vienna involving officials from France, Britain, the United States, Russia and China (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members), as well as Germany.
Beckett said the package will bring "substantive benefits" to Iran. She said "far reaching" proposals are now being presented to the Iranians and that further steps will be taken through the U.N. Security Council if Iran does not agree to engage in talks.
This comes a day after the U.S. offered to join European Union talks with Iran if it agrees to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki rejected the conditions for the talks, saying his country will not give up its right to enrich uranium.
The United States has not held direct, official talks with Iran since 1979.
Russia, China, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency have welcomed the U.S. policy move on Iran. President Bush said today if Iran rejects the U.S. offer, the world will act together through the U.N. Security Council.
Mr. Bush spoke by phone this week with the leaders of Russia and China on the Iranian nuclear issue. Both countries have opposed sanctions against Iran. A White House spokesman, Tony Snow said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao said to President Bush it is "absolutely critical" that Tehran suspends its nuclear activities.
The West suspects Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons -- a charge Tehran denies.