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Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, says negotiations that started on October 1 between the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany -- the P5+1 -- with Iran are focused on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capacity. Ambassador Rice said the P5+1 presented Iran with a "very plain choice:"
"Prove to our satisfaction that their program is, as they claim, for peaceful purposes and open up their facilities to inspections; freeze their uranium enrichment program; commit, as they have done, and follow through on their commitment to provide fuel for enrichment outside the country, or face real pressure."
Ambassador Rice called the initial discussions with Iran "a constructive beginning." And since the meeting in Geneva, Iran has agreed to allow U.N. inspectors to check Iran's newly revealed uranium enrichment site near Qom on October 25th. At the meeting, the Iranian delegations agreed to join the P5+1 for another round of talks before the end of October.
Ambassador Rice emphasized that the negotiations with Iran are not simply talk for talk's sake. The Iranian government needs to "demonstrate conclusively" that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. The optimal outcome, said Ambassador Rice, would be "an Iran without nuclear weapons that is peacefully integrated into the international community:"
"That no longer poses a threat to its neighbors, no longer supports terrorism, treats its people with respect and allows them to participate peacefully in a democratic process."
"Iran has, and the people of Iran have a tremendous history and a great opportunity to be much more constructive players in the international community," said Ambassador Rice. "We hope very much that Iran would be in a position where it can be a responsible player."