AFP: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran on Friday to take up the offer from the United States and other powers to negotiate a halt to its suspect nuclear activities. WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran on Friday to take up the offer from the United States and other powers to negotiate a halt to its suspect nuclear activities.
"We have made clear our desire to resolve issues with Iran, diplomatically. Iran must now decide whether to join us in this effort," Clinton told foreign policy experts before the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
The five UN Security Council permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — plus Germany are due to take part in the talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on October 1.
Clinton warned that Iran, which the US and other Western nations fear is secretly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear power program, would face further sanctions if it shies away from talks.
She said there would be "accompanying costs" for "Iran's continued defiance," citing "more isolation and economic pressure, less possibility of progress for the people of Iran."
As tens of thousands of Iranian opposition supporters mounted the first major protest in two months chanting "Death to the dictator" against hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Clinton heaped scorn on the regime.
"Since June we have seen the Iranian government engaged in a campaign of politically motivated arrests, show trials and suppression of free speech," Clinton said in a speech at the Brookings Institution.
"The Iranian government seeks a sense of justice in the world, but stands in the way of the justice it seeks."