From: Reuters
Published May 21, 2008 08:14 PM

Rice: Iran must make "right choice" in nuclear row

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Wednesday that if it did not make the "right choice" and abandon sensitive nuclear work it faced more punitive action from the international community.

Speaking at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Rice said Iran faced more isolation if it did not give up the uranium enrichment the West suspects is aimed at building an atomic bomb.

"If Iran will not make the right choice, then it will face consequences," Rice said, without offering any details.

Iran has already been subject to three rounds of U.N. sanctions over its refusal to give up enrichment and major powers plan to present a package of revised incentives to Tehran to get it to change course.


The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia -- and Germany, known as the P5+1, offered a package to Iran in 2006 that also required Iran to halt enrichment and offered a range of economic and diplomatic incentives to do that.

Miliband said EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was in "advanced discussions" with the Iranians over when and where this latest offer would be presented. A time and place has not yet been announced.

"The offer will make clear that there are substantial benefits for the Iranian people from an Iran which fulfills its responsibilities to the international community," Miliband said.

"Iran has always asked that its rights be properly respected and our position jointly has always been that as long as Iran exercises responsibilities, it will be able to forge a more productive and positive relationship with the international community," he said.

Tehran, which rejected the 2006 proposals, has so far refused to accept the main Western demand for a suspension of uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or atomic bombs.

The 2006 proposals included civil nuclear cooperation and wider trade in civil aircraft, energy, high technology and agriculture if Tehran suspended enrichment and negotiated with the six powers.

No official details have been given of the updated offer.

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, insists its enrichment activity is aimed at generating electricity and says the program is a national right that it will not give up.

Asked to comment on criticism by Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama that the Bush administration's policy on Iran was a failure, Rice pointed to the joint efforts of major powers to get Iran to stop its enrichment.

"I would like to see what other options there are," she added.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

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