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Iran Should Not Delay

The foreign ministers of Germany and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France - are scheduled to meet in Paris on July 12th. On the agenda will be the status of Iran’s response to the package of incentives offered to Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that Iran should respond to the offer without delay:

"If indeed Iran is trying to stall, it's not going to work. The international community has said that we need to get an answer, an indication of where Iran is going with this. We need to know if the path of negotiation is open or not. It is really incumbent on Iran now to take what is a very good offer and respond to it."

The package offers Iran incentives on the condition that the Iranian government fully and verifiably suspends its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. Enriched uranium can be used to produce either electricity or nuclear weapons. Many countries believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says Iran has already had more than enough time to make a decision:

"They certainly have had ample opportunity to consider this proposal, which provides them a positive pathway as well as a negative pathway, and we would encourage them to take up the offer that has been presented to them for negotiations. They have to meet certain conditions. Everybody has agreed upon what those conditions are -- most importantly, suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing related activity. That's not a U.S. condition [alone]. That's a condition that has been laid out by the I-A-E-A [International Atomic Energy Agency] and prior to that was negotiated among the Iranians and the EU-3 [Germany, France, and Britain]."

U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says that if the Iranian government fails to respond by July 12th, then the United States and others will have to "consider some of the measures that have to do with action by the [U.N.] Security Council."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.