Rice Says World United in Views on Iran
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the international community is united in demanding that Iran give up its nuclear weapons program. Rice spoke in Berlin, where she is meeting with foreign ministers trying to step up diplomatic pressure on Tehran...

By Lisa Bryant, VOA Paris
Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rice Says World United in Views on Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, third from right, arrives for a news conference with her counterparts, left to right are: Sergej Lavrov, Russia, Philippe Douste-Blazy, France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany, and Jack Straw, Great Britain

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Condoleezza Rice met with her counterparts from Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, just hours after the United Nations Security Council approved a non-bonding statement giving Iran 30 days to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. The language of the proposal had been watered down because of reservations from China and Russia.

But in Berlin, the ministers stressed the views they had in common. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Tehran was wrong to believe the international community was divided over Iran's nuclear activities.

"Truthfully, it has become more united. This is a difficult issue," he said. "We had long discussions about it. But this matter has now been discussed within the Security Council. We've issued a unanimous presidential statement which sends a very clear message to Iran. I hope Iran heeds those messages because if they fail to do so, as the statement makes clear, the matter will be further considered by the security council."

In Geneva, Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, dismissed criticism of its nuclear program as unjustified propaganda. He reiterated Tehran's argument that its nuclear enrichment activities are only for peaceful ends.

The Berlin meeting was the first leg of a European trip by Secretary of State Rice that includes stops in France and Britain. The Middle East is also on the agenda later Thursday in Paris, when Rice is to hold talks with French President Jacques Chirac.

Rice spends the weekend in northern England, as a guest of Foreign Secretary Straw.

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