European states want the United States to make such proposals to Tehran after the November 2 U.S. presidential election ... Reuters
BRUSSELS - The United States sees no reason to offer Iran incentives to ensure its nuclear programme remains peaceful, a U.S. government official said on Tuesday.
European states want the United States to make such proposals to Tehran after the November 2 U.S. presidential election to add weight to efforts by Britain, France and Germany to reach an accord with Iran and avoid a U.N. Security Council showdown.
"At this point a grand bargain is not where we are heading," said the official, who requested anonymity.
He was referring to suggestions that Washington offer Iran economic and political inducements to halt activities which Washington suspects are aimed at making the atom bomb.
"We haven't seen any Iranian recognition that (a bargain) is in their interest," the official, in Brussels for talks with EU and Canadian officials on managing the challenge of Iran, told reporters.
But he said the United States would closely follow at any future signs that Tehran could respond positively to an offer.
"That would be a new factor we would look at very seriously. We don't have that now," he said.
Hard-liners in the Bush administration have made it clear they would oppose offering any incentives to Tehran.
Iran has rebuffed a proposal by U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry to supply the Islamic state with nuclear fuel for power reactors if it gives up its own fuel-making capability.
Iran could be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions if its co-operation is seen as insufficient at a November 25 board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.
The talks launched by Britain, France and Germany have yielded disappointing results. There has been alarm at Iran's announcement last month that it had begun processing raw uranium for enrichment, a possible route to the bomb.
The U.S. official said there was a need to define a common approach to Iran between the United States and Europe but said it was not clear how that could be achieved at the moment.
"How do you ... elicit from Iran a readiness to engage? I don't know the answer and I don't think the Europeans do either," he said.