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Keep pressure on Iran, says US

The United States said it would not accept any uranium enrichment by Iran, appearing to reject a Russian proposal.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 09:29 IST

The US government has demanded that the international community "act" to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, as the UN nuclear watchdog agency met in Vienna on the Iran crisis.

The United States said it would not accept any uranium enrichment by Iran, appearing to reject a Russian proposal, which diplomats said had been put to the crucial International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting in Vienna.

"It is important for the international community to continue to act and make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapons capability," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told a press briefing on Monday.

"The regime in Iran continues to make provocative statements and take provocative actions that only further isolate it from the rest of the international community.

"We will talk with the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, we will talk amongst members of the (UN) Security Council about the way forward to addressing this issue and preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian programme," he said.

IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei has said he hoped an agreement could be reached soon to ease Western fears over Iran's nuclear programme as the agency opened a meeting in Vienna.

Russia is proposing a package that would allow Iran eventually to do small-scale uranium enrichment but not obtain the technology that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

But the current package is opposed by the US and European nations, which want Iran to give up uranium enrichment, and by Iran, because the package would call for a full suspension of enrichment while talks began.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 09:29 IST