Rice denies deal on Iran nuclear work (REUTERS) By Sue Pleming SHANNON 11/10/05 3:28 PM ET)
Reuters News Service
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SHANNON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on
Thursday denied Washington and its European allies had a proposal
that would let Iran pursue limited nuclear activities to try and
avoid a confrontation with Iran.
The proposal was reported on Thursday in the New York Times and said
Iran would be allowed to conduct limited nuclear activities on its
own soil but would move the process of enriching all of its uranium
"There is no U.S.-European proposal to the Iranians. I want to say
that categorically," Rice told reporters en route from Washington to
the Middle East where she will visit Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel
and the West Bank.
"We are doing what we have been doing for some time which is keeping
diplomatic partners apprised of their thinking about the future of
their negotiations with the Iranians," she added.
Rice met with the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohammed
ElBaradei in Washington on Tuesday and discussed Iran and how to deal
with threats posed by its nuclear activities.
The paper said ElBaradei planned to present the offer to Iran on
behalf of the United States, Britain, Germany and France.
"I don´t want to get into any further details over what may be being
contemplated by the parties to the negotiations (with Iran)," Rice
"We do hope that if there is a way for the Iranians to accept a way
forward that would give confidence that they are not in fact trying
to seek a nuclear weapon under cover of a civilian nuclear power
IAEA MEETS THIS MONTH
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets this month to
discuss Iran after a meeting in September warned Tehran it could be
sent to the U.N. Security Council unless it complied with a September
IAEA resolution urging it to cooperate with U.N. inspectors and to
freeze all nuclear fuel work.
The United States accuses Iran of secretly developing atomic weapons
but Tehran counters its nuclear activity is aimed at generating
electricity and not weapons.
Rice reiterated U.S. concern about enrichment and reprocessing by
Iran and said the United States was worried that Iran could be left
with stockpiles of UF6, a gaseous form of uranium which can be used
for nuclear reactions.
The newspaper report said Rice wanted to give Iran a deadline of two
weeks to respond to the proposal but the top U.S. diplomat said this
was not the case.
"I believe that is not the way to conduct diplomacy. Obviously a
meeting is coming up on November 24 and we will have to decide what
to do. But this will be at a time of our choosing," she said.
She said the United States believed it had enough votes to push
through a referral to the Security Council, which could ultimately
lead to sanctions.
The September resolution passed 22 to 1 with only arch U.S. foe
Venezuela opposing it. However 12 nations, including Russia and
China, abstained from voting and could be hard to convince in another
ElBaradei and President George W. Bush agree on a plan to create
international sources of supply of nuclear fuel so that nations could
have no excuse to start their own facilities to enrich uranium which
could ultimately build a weapon.
Rice said this was a good way of allowing countries to fulfill their
fuel needs without a proliferation risk. (© Reuters 2005 11/10/05)
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