AFP: The United States said Wednesday that the international community was "not quite" at the point of switching from trying to engage Iran to pressuring it over its suspect nuclear program. WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Wednesday that the international community was "not quite" at the point of switching from trying to engage Iran to pressuring it over its suspect nuclear program.
"We're not going to close any… door on the engagement track, but at a certain point I think we're going to start paying a little more attention to the other track," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.
"We're not quite at that point right now, but as I said before, I think that time is short."
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki appeared to rule out Wednesday proposals backed by the major powers for it to ship out more than 70 percent of its low-enriched uranium stocks in return for nuclear fuel.
Kelly said the US did not see his remarks, reported by Iran's ISNA news agency, as a formal response and was waiting to hear that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, had received a clear answer from the Iranians.
"What was said today doesn't inspire… our confidence that they're going to deliver up a positive response, of course," Kelly said.
The US will continue to consult with its negotiating partners Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany as well as with the IAEA about the dual track of "both engagement and pressure" over Iran's disputed nuclear program, he said.
The IAEA has been waiting almost a month for Iran to respond to the nuclear deal offered on October 21.
Under the proposals, Iran would rely on Russia and France to process low-enriched uranium to fuel a Tehran reactor that makes medical isotopes.
The Islamic republic would be left without sufficient material to make a nuclear weapon, at least from stockpiles known to the international community.
Such a deal would give the world community more time to negotiate a deal in which Iran halts its uranium enrichment program, which the West fears masks a bid to build a bomb. Iran denies the charges.