Iran's Foreign Minister rejects European incentives to ban nuclear enrichment

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran would however welcome a solution that recognized the Islamic republic's right to produce nuclear fuel under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers said Monday they would support a "proliferation-proof" civilian nuclear program for Iran and would boost political and economic cooperation if Tehran halts enriching uranium, which can be used both to make fuel for power plants or the core of atomic warheads.

The EU said it remained deeply concerned by Iran's failure to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

The new cooperation plan prepared by the EU would contain three elements - economic assistance, political cooperation, and support for the civilian nuclear program.

Tehran was expecting to receive a formal written proposal for this plan on Friday, state-run media said.

Mottaki said any deal with the EU should respect Iran's right to enrich uranium. "Otherwise its fate will be like that of the August package," he said, referring to Iran's rejection last August of an EU proposal that had already required Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program for economic incentives.

The U.S. and several of its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons but Tehran denies the charge saying its program is geared merely toward generating electricity, the AP reports.