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US, Britain tell Iran to make decision on nuclear offer
Cat : WMD
Date : 2006-07-12 10:29:35                      Reader : 279
Not before US makes decision on development of WMD. Iran is the last to be asked about its peaceful program the correspond bien with International laws.


Associated France Press (AFP) 12/7/2006

US, Britain tell Iran to make decision on nuclear offer


by Stephen Collinson

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States and Britain demanded an answer from Iran on an international offer designed to ease a nuclear standoff, saying six weeks of decision time was "quite long enough."
The two allies stepped up the diplomatic heat on the eve of a meeting between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Brussels.

Their joint intervention also came two days ahead of a key meeting in Paris between foreign ministers of the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, to discuss tactics toward Iran ahead of next weekend’s G8 summit in Russia.

"It is really time to get an authoritative answer," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett at a press conference.

"We hope the Iranians chose the path before them for cooperation, but, of course, we can always return to the other path should we need to," Rice said.

"And that path ... was, of course, the path to the Security Council."

Beckett also pressed for an answer from Iran.

"The Iranians have now had good time to look very carefully and in depth at what is to be fair, a detailed set of proposals," she said.

"We very much look forward -- all of us, I think -- to hearing soon from the Iranians an official response to the proposals we put to them."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack had earlier said that no one was expecting Iran to come up with a final negotiated solution, merely for a sign of willingness it was ready to come to the table.

"Six weeks is quite long enough to consider that," McCormack told reporters.

The international offer, presented to Tehran by Solana on June 6 on behalf of the permanent five plus Germany, offers economic and other incentives in exchange for a pledge to suspend uranium enrichment.

The West, in particular the United States, wants Tehran to respond before a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Saint Petersburg on July 15-17, but hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has said Tehran will not respond before August.

Rising US and British pressure for Iran’s answer came as the European Union also said Tehran did not have much time left.

"It’s clear that we need the response (of the Iranians) as soon as possible, and that the time element is very important," said the EU official’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach.

"We have to exert pressure so that this happens as soon as possible," she insisted.

Iran has played down prospects of substantial progress, saying it sees Tuesday’s meeting as a chance to "resolve ambiguities" about details of the offer, underlining that it will not give a full response in Brussels.

On Sunday, Iran again dashed hopes of a rapid response to the offer by saying it will take until the second half of August to respond.

"They need to respond to the ambiguities we have identified," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran. "We will respond in the last week of Mordad," Mottaki added, referring to the Iranian month that ends August 22.

But McCormack said an answer at the end of August would amount to a wait of "months" instead of weeks, and was therefore not acceptable.

"Certainly, they want to play ’kick the can down the road’ on this," he said.

"They want to string the international community along while they continue to make progress on their nuclear program."

The State Department also Monday issued a statement commemorating the seventh anniversary of a student uprising in Iran, saying that the Tehran government had banned commemorations of an event in which it said demonstrators were arrested, beaten and killed by Iranian security forces.

"We call on the Iranian government to respect the human rights of all Iranian people, including students, religious minorities, workers and women, and to release those arrested and imprisoned for insisting on their universal rights to freedom of expression," the statement said.

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