Iran's Larijani says atomic offer contains problems
(Reuters) - Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on Sunday there were problems as well as positive points in an incentive package put forward by six world powers to persuade Tehran to stop atomic fuel work.
"These proposals contain some positive points. At the same time there are problems and ambiguous points," said Larijani, speaking through an Arabic translator after talks at the Arab League in Cairo, reports Trend.
The West suspects Iran's atomic research aims to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says it is purely for civilian use.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said earlier on Sunday Iran believed some of the points in the offer "should not exist." He also said some of the points were acceptable, while others were ambiguous.
But Larijani, a more senior figure, had previously only referred to ambiguities in the offer.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has entrusted nuclear matters to the Supreme National Security Council and appointed Larijani as chief negotiator.
Larijani also said no deadline had been set for Iran to accept the package, which was agreed by the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.
"It was said that Iran was given a limited time period to agree ... This is incorrect," Larijani said.
"We have always said that we welcome negotiations without any precondition," he added.
Larijani also met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday to discuss the nuclear program. Iran has long been striving to persuade Arab states that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
Egypt and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for 25 years and high-level contacts are rare, usually limited to international meetings.
Egypt, which is a close U.S. ally, says Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear technology but not nuclear arms.
"The strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is that Iran would always be with the Islamic and Arab states. As for the Iranian nuclear project, it does not contain any danger to Islamic states or to non-Islamic states or to Arab (states)," he said. "We are not looking for the atomic bomb," he said.
"This Iranian project helps the Arab and Islamic states and will be a helpful factor for them," he said, adding that League Secretary-General Amr Moussa had told him Arab states should take steps toward harnessing peaceful nuclear technology.