DPA: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Friday vowed they would remain firm in the face of Iran’s unwillingness to cede to demands to give up its uranium enrichment programme. DPA
PARIS – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Friday vowed they would remain firm in the face of Iran’s unwillingness to cede to demands to give up its uranium enrichment programme.
“The international community has no reason to trust that the Iranians will deal responsibly with the (nuclear) fuel cycle,” Rice told journalists in Paris after talks with Douste-Blazy and President Jacques Chirac.
Therefore, Rice went on, “we have to send a very strong message to Iran”. That message, she said, is that if Tehran does not comply with the demands of the international community, it will be brought before the U.N. Security Council.
“It is very clear that the Security Council is an option,” Rice said.
For his part, Douste-Blazy said, “We need a certain firmness” in dealings with Iran, adding, “We must make the option of the Security Council quite credible.”
On Tuesday, Tehran signalled that it was willing to return to negotiations with the so-called European Trio – France, Germany and Britain – on the issue.
Negotiations between the European Union and Iran stalled in August after Tehran resumed processing and enriching uranium in its nuclear plant in Isfahan.
“The fuel cycle is the core of the problem,” Rice said, and urged Iran to return to the negotiating table.
“The European three will continue to seek a diplomatic solution,” she said. “We strongly urge Iran to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Earlier, in talks with Chirac, she and the French president had agreed that “the perspective of an Iran equipped with nuclear military means was unacceptable”, Chirac’s spokesman, Jerome Bonnafont said.
Rice also cautioned Iran on its behaviour regarding Iraq, citing recent reports in the British media that Tehran was supporting the anti-American insurgency.
“Iran should behave as a good neighbour of Iraq,” Rice said. She described as “a troubling development” the recent claims by British officials that Iran was backing insurgents in southern Iraq held responsible for a recent rise in attacks on British soldiers there.
Quoting defence sources in Basra, in British-controlled southern Iraq, the Sun newspaper reported Wednesday that insurgents were currently being trained in bomb-making by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Rice went on to praise the Iraqis for recent developments, such as the drawing up of a constitution to be voted on in a referendum.
“It’s extraordinary what they are achieving,” she said, but she noted that Iraqis had “a long process of politics and compromise ahead of them”.
For his part, Douste-Blazy said that “the social and security situation in Iraq troubles (France)”.
Following her talks in Paris, Rice was scheduled to fly to Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin before travelling on to London on Saturday.