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Rice On Iran At Year's End

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says over the past year, the United States has made progress in its efforts to press Iran to comply with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines:

“We have strengthened international cooperation to pressure Iran to give up its pursuit of a nuclear capability, including through a second U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution. We are now negotiating, and I believe that we will achieve, next year, a third sanctions resolution. We have increased financial pressure against Iranian agencies, banks, and front companies that abuse the international financial system. And we have targeted Iran’s provision of lethal support to extremists who attack U.S. and coalition troops and innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Iran stands to benefit if it decides to alter its course. Secretary of State Rice has repeated an offer that was first made in June of 2006 to engage in negotiations with Iran if Iran complies with United Nations mandates and suspends its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment:

“If Iran will just do the one thing that is required of it by the Security Council resolutions that have been passed, and that is to suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities, then I’m prepared to meet my counterpart anyplace and anytime and anywhere and we can talk about anything.”

Secretary of State Rice says that the United States is open to better relations with both Iran and Syria, "but", she said, "they must choose cooperation, not confrontation, with the international community."