Monday, July 10, 2006

Rice Says Time for Iran to Give Nuclear Reply

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday it was time for Iran to give a definitive answer to a major powers' proposal for the Islamic republic to negotiate over curbs on its nuclear programmes.

Rice demanded a response despite the country's nuclear negotiator warning he would not give Iran's final answer on Tuesday to the top EU diplomat at a meeting where the powers hope for a formal reply.

"It is really time to get an authoritative answer to that proposal," Rice said at a joint news conference with Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. READ MORE

In early June, major powers offered negotiations, which would include the United States for the first time, if Iran suspended enrichment activity that the West suspects is used in the pursuit of a nuclear bomb. Iran says it only seeks to develop power generation.

Rice, Beckett and their counterparts from China, Russia, France and Germany will meet on Wednesday in Paris to work out a strategy for how to deal with Iran, although they may have no definitive answer whether Tehran accepts the terms for talks.