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Bush welcomes Iran's reaction

Iran's 'positive' reaction to a proposal aimed at ending the crisis over Tehran's N-programme has been lauded.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 10:58 IST

US President George W Bush has cautiously welcomed Iran's 'positive' initial reaction to an internationally crafted proposal aimed at ending the crisis over Tehran's nuclear programme.

"We will see if the Iranians take our offer seriously. The choice is theirs to make," the President said in Texas on Tuesday as he pushed his immigration reform plan. "I want to solve this issue with Iran diplomatically."

"I have said the United States will come and sit down at the table with them, so long as they are willing to suspend their enrichment in a verifiable way," he said. "So it sounds like a positive response to me."

Earlier, Iran said the carrots-and-sticks proposal, backed by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany contained 'positive steps' but also 'ambiguities.'

The package, presented by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, offers incentives and fresh multilateral talks if Tehran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment work.

White House spokesman Tony Snow called Iran's opening response 'heartening' but stuck by Washington's position that progress in talks aimed at resolving the dispute required Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment work.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the issue was at a sensitive stage and that Iran needed 'space' to consider the package of options 'because we want to give this every opportunity to succeed.'

"The diplomacy, I would say, is at a sensitive stage," he said. "We want to give them a little bit of space to consider what's in the package, both on the positive as well as the negative side."