TEHRAN - Iran will probably give its formal response Thursday to Britain, France and Germany on whether it will agree to a suspension of some of its nuclear activities in order to avoid possible UN sanctions, a top official told AFP.
"We will very probably give our response by tonight," said senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Moussavian.
The Europeans are pushing for Iran to accept a suspension of its work on the nuclear fuel cycle, including the enrichment of uranium.
"It is not yet clear. There are still internal discussions at a high level," he said, when asked if the Islamic republic's clerical leadership would approve or reject a tentative agreement reached last weekend in Paris with the three European Union states.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has told Iran it must respond this week in writing to the European deal if it wants its position included in a report for an IAEA meeting in Vienna on November 25.
This meeting will decide whether to take the Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, something the United States -- which accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons -- has been pushing for.
But despite Iran's delay in responding, Moussavian denied reports from the IAEA in Vienna of a snag in the diplomacy and that Tehran had asked for more concessions than the two sides had worked out in Paris last week.
"This is not correct. The last agreement is the Paris agreement. We are supposed to say yes or no to the whole package," he said.
The main sticking points in the tentative agreement on getting Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment are over the length and extent of any halt, diplomats said.
Uranium conversion makes the uranium gas needed for the enrichment process which makes nuclear fuel, but which can also be the raw material for atomic bombs.
The 25-nation EU, led by Britain, France and Germany, says Iran must indefinitely and fully suspend uranium enrichment activities, but Iran insists its right to enrichment cannot be called into question.
Europe's three major powers are offering Iran nuclear technology, including access to nuclear fuel, increased trade and help with Tehran's regional security concerns if the Islamic republic halts enrichment, in an attempt to keep Iran from being taken to the Security Council.