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Iran Reacts Cautiously to Deals on Trade

Iran has reacted cautiously to a European proposal for resolving the standoff over its nuclear program, with a senior official saying the plan contain ed both \"positive steps\" and \"ambiguities that should be cleared up.\" The official, Ali Larijani, who is the country\'s top nuclear negotiator, also told reporters on Iranian television that talks on the proposal were \"good,\" but that no formal reply would be made until it had been further studied. Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, presented the plan in Tehran to Mr. Larijani and to Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki. \"We had good discussions,\" Mr. Solana said afterward.\"Now that the plan is on the table, I hope we will receive a positive response.\" Mr. Solana stressed that the package reflects a \"strong consensus of six countries,\" the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Britian, France, Russia and China — plus Germany. The package contains incentives meant to persuade Iran to give up a nuclear program it insists is for peaceful purposes but that the United States has called a cover for weapons development. The incentives include a proposal to allow Iran to upgrade its aging civilian air fleet through the purchase of aircraft parts from an American company, Boeing, and waiving trade sanctions against Iran to allow the purchase of American agricultural technology, said European diplomats and a senior Bush administration official. The offer includes a commitment from the six nations to support Iran\'s plan for a nuclear energy program for civilian use, including building light-water reactors through joint projects with other countries, the diplomats said. The United States and Europe also agreed to back Iran\'s membership in the World Trade Organization. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been subject to American sanctions that hinder the purchase of spare parts for nearly all the planes in its air force, the civilian carrier Iran Air and domestic airlines. The sanctions cover not only American-made airplanes and parts, but also European planes like Airbus, when they use parts made in the United States. Because Iran can shop only for used Airbus or Boeing planes, its civilian fleet is notorious for the age of planes and parts. Iranian officials regularly blame the sanctions for plane crashes.