Iran Rejects Western Aid Offer

TEHRAN, Iran -- Western powers are warning Iran of more sanctions if it rejects an incentives offer and presses on with sensitive nuclear work, but the Islamic Republic is showing no sign of backing down.

On Saturday, Iran again ruled out suspending uranium enrichment, despite the offer by six world powers of help in developing a civilian nuclear program if it stopped activities the United States and others suspect are designed to make bombs.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after talks in Tehran that Iran should cease enrichment during negotiations on the offer, a precondition it has repeatedly rejected.

The incentives package agreed by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany last month and delivered by Solana to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is a revised version of one rejected by Iran in 2006.

Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Iran would review the proposal but halting enrichment is a "red line," which will not be accepted, the official IRNA news agency said.

"They will never accept the proposal as it is," one Western diplomat said. "As usual they are playing for time."

U.S. President George W. Bush has spent a lot of time during a farewell tour of Europe over the last week trying to forge a united front to press Iran to suspend such nuclear work.