Middle East News
Rice sees no more room for EU negotiations with Iran
Jan 23, 2006, 21:30 GMT
Washington - As long as Iran moves forward with uranium enrichment, there is little reason for the European Union to continue talks on the country's nuclear programme, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday.
'They are the ones who broke the seals. They have been the ones who've said that they intend to begin enriching and reprocessing,' Rice said.
'I don't see much room for further discussion in any format while those conditions exist, and that is why I've emphasized the Security Council route.'
Rice's comments came during a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, who threw Italy's weight behind the US-EU effort to haul Iran before the UN Security Council.
'It is now absolutely necessary to refer the case to the Security Council,' Fini said.
The United States and European Union - including the Britain, France and Germany, which have negotiated with Iran for more than two years - moved to pursue Security Council action after Tehran broke international seals at its Natanz nuclear facility to resume uranium enrichment research.
Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for energy needs, but Washington accuses the country of pursuing nuclear arms.
The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is scheduled to take up the US-EU request February 2.
Earlier Monday, US President George W. Bush emphasized that the nuclear dispute with Iran does not mean the United States has a dispute with ordinary Iranians.
'We have no beef with you,' Bush said after giving a speech at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.
But Iran cannot be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon to 'blackmail' the rest of the world, he said.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur