Iran urged Europe on Wednesday to pay attention to "positive and clear signals" in its counterproposal for resolving the standoff over its disputed nuclear programme, as China and Russia signalled support for a negotiated settlement. That sets the stage for a battle at the UN Security Council if the US moves forward on sanctions.
Diplomats from Europe, the US, Russia and China were studying the details of Iran's offer a day after Tehran presented it on Tuesday without any detailed public comment.
Iran's proposal offers negotiations on its nuclear programme but apparently resists suspending uranium enrichment - the key Security Council demand to avoid sanction.
Nevertheless, the Iranians sought on Wednesday to portray their detailed counteroffer as a major initiative, which could lead to resolution of the yearlong dispute without having to resort to a bruising fight over sanctions.
"If the Europeans pay proper attention to positive and clear signals included in Iran's response, the case will be solved through negotiation and without tension," state-controlled radio quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying on Wednesday.
Asefi described Iran's response as a sign of his country's good will to resolve the standoff.