Iran General NewsRice Says U.S. Involvement Not Needed in EU-Iran Drive

Rice Says U.S. Involvement Not Needed in EU-Iran Drive

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Reuters: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday there was no need for U.S. involvement in European attempts
to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program. Her comments were likely to disappoint Europeans who would like the United States to throw greater weight behind its efforts to persuade Iran to give up nuclear activities in return for political and economic incentives. Reuters

LONDON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday there was no need for U.S. involvement in European attempts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

Her comments were likely to disappoint Europeans who would like the United States to throw greater weight behind its efforts to persuade Iran to give up nuclear activities in return for political and economic incentives.

“The Iranians know what they need to do. It’s not the absence of anybody’s involvement that is keeping the Iranians from knowing what they need to do,” Rice told reporters en route to London for her first foreign trip as secretary of state.

“They need to live up to their obligations, they need to agree to verification inspection, they need to stop trying to hide activities under cover of civilian nuclear power.”

Tehran promised France, Britain and Germany in November it would refrain from all activities related to uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing for the duration of talks between the EU’s “big three” and Iran, talks aimed at hammering out a permanent resolution to the standoff over Iran’s atomic plans.

Washington, which believes Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb, has indicated it would like the Europeans to take a tougher line with Iran to force it to give up permanently any activities which could be used to make a nuclear bomb.

“We will have more discussions while I am here about how to get a very clear message to the Iranians and unity of purpose in dealing with the Iranians,” Rice said at the start of a tour of the region.

Iran denies it is seeking an atomic bomb, saying its nuclear program is limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.

Reinforcing tough talk against Iran from Washington, Rice made clear the U.S. enmity to Iran’s religious rulers.

“The Iranian regime’s human rights behavior and its behavior toward its own population is something to be loathed,” she said.

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