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Need to threaten Iran with sanctions: Rice

Efforts to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions must include the threat of sanctions, US Secy of State Condoleezza Rice said.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 21:33 IST

Efforts to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions must include the threat of sanctions, if Tehran pursues sensitive uranium enrichment work, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

Speaking during a visit to northwest England, Rice acknowledged that a statement by UN powers, agreed in Berlin earlier this week, was a compromise that took into account Russia's reluctance to envision sanctions.

"This is a process," she said, "And where we end up in this process in terms of the potential for sanctions... will be in part dependent on whether the Iranian regime decides to respond to the just demands of the international system."

Rice, who was speaking at a forum in Blackburn organised by the Chatham House foreign policy institute, has been talking about the need to brandish the threat of sanctions with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

She refused to rule out the possible use of force against Iran, despite a refusal by China and Russia to entertain any notion of such action against their ally and major trading partner.

"The American President (George W Bush) never takes any option off the table," she said, adding, "We also recognise that that is not what is on the agenda now. We are in a process that we believe can work diplomatically."