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DESPITE INCENTIVES, IRAN UNLIKELY TO HALT N-WORK

Iran is unlikely to accept European incentives aimed at getting it to suspend uranium enrichment, diplomats said Thursday, raising the prospect of a showdown next month between Tehran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Envoys from Britain, France and Germany offered civilian nuclear technology and a trade deal to the Iranians in a private meeting at the French mission to international organizations in Vienna. But Western diplomats said they doubt Iran will back down easily.

Iran did not immediately respond to the incentives, which included the promise of lucrative trade, a light-water nuclear research reactor and the chance to buy nuclear fuel from the West.

Amir-Hossein Zamaniyan, director-general of international affairs for Iran's Foreign Ministry, would take the proposal back to his government for study, the diplomat said.

The offer came a day after President Mohammad Khatami said Iran would not give up uranium enrichment, which can be used both to generate electricity or build a nuclear weapon.

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