Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 17:03 UK

Iran to be offered new incentives

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (centre) visits his country's Natanz uranium enrichment facility on 8 April 2008
Iran's president visited Iran's Natanz enrichment facility last month

Major world powers are to offer Iran updated incentives to stop enriching uranium and end fears it is seeking a nuclear arsenal.

The agreement on a new package was announced by UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband after talks between foreign ministers in London.

He said no details would be made public before the offer was made to Tehran.

Iran, which says it is seeking civilian nuclear energy, is under UN sanctions for continuing to enrich uranium.

Friday's deal was agreed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, Russia, China, the UK and France - plus Germany.

All were represented by their foreign ministers except for China, which sent a deputy minister.

Threat 'very serious'

"We are united in our belief that the threat posed by this enrichment programme to stability is very serious and it's one that we want to address directly," Mr Miliband said.

Statement on Iran from UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband

"We very much hope that they [the Iranians] will recognise the seriousness and the sincerity with which we have approached this issue and that they will respond in a timely manner to the suggestions that we are making," he added.

Incentives offered to Iran in June 2006 included civil nuclear cooperation and wider trade in civil aircraft, energy, high technology and agriculture.

The incentives were rejected by Tehran.

In March, the UN Security Council approved a third round of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

These included asset restrictions and travel bans on Iranian individuals and companies with connections to the nuclear industry, and a prohibition on the sale of "dual-use" technology to Iran.

Earlier sanctions prohibited the supply to Iran of any items likely to assist uranium enrichment or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

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