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World Powers Meet on Iran


The foreign ministers of world powers are meeting in Vienna Thursday to discuss how to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program -- following a dramatic U.S. offer to hold talks with Tehran.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterparts from Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China are finalizing a package of incentives if Iran gives up sensitive nuclear activities -- and penalties if it does not.

Wednesday, Rice said the United States is prepared to join European talks with Iran if Tehran suspends its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said his country will not give up its right to enrich uranium, but is ready to hold talks with the United States. Mottaki said Washington needs to "change its behavior" if it wants new relations with Iran.

The United States has not held direct, official talks with Iran since 1979.

Russia, China, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency have welcomed the U.S. policy move on Iran.

However, Moscow and Beijing say they have some reservations about using tough measures to force Iran to give up its nuclear program. The West suspects Iran is seeking to develop nuclear-weapons -- a charge Tehran denies.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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