Iran Nuclear NewsRice: US will decide in summer whether to pursue...

Rice: US will decide in summer whether to pursue a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear program

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Reuters: The United States will decide this summer whether to pursue a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear program at the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday. Reuters

NEW YORK – The United States will decide this summer whether to pursue a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear program at the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday.

Rice said Washington has faith in European-led negotiations aimed at ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains non-military, and that what matters most is “a unity of purpose” among all the nations involved.

Her remarks come shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged President Bush to take a tougher line on Iran and said the country was approaching a point of no return in its quest for nuclear weapons.

Rice, however, told the newspaper the Israelis had provided “no new revelation” on Iran’s alleged nuclear program.

She also played down the immediate urgency of nuclear threats from North Korea. She dismissed as a bid for attention Pyongyang’s recent declaration that it has nuclear weapons as well as its decision to walk away from multi-party talks on eliminating its nuclear program.

“I do think the North Koreans have been, frankly, a little bit disappointed that people are not jumping up and down and running around with their hair on fire because (they) have been making these pronouncements,” Rice said in the interview.

She said the United States is still depending on China to persuade the North Koreans to return to the so-called six-party talks, as the Chinese assured her they would do during her visit to Beijing last month.

Rice’s comments on Iran and North Korea — the two parts of Mr. Bush’s “axis of evil” beyond the former Iraqi regime — suggest that the administration remains confident it can prevail on both fronts through diplomacy and the threat of deeper isolation, the Journal said.

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