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Rice calls Iran 'central banker of terrorism'

The US Secretary of State also urged Iran to resume negotiations over its nuclear programme.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 13:48 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday urged Iran to resume negotiations over its nuclear programme, while also calling the country a central banker for terrorism.

Rice was speaking after meeting her Australian counterpart Alexander Downer for talks that covered topics including Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions, Indonesia's development and the recent nuclear deal between Washington and India.

Rice called Iran the "central banker of terrorism," though she didn't elaborate on that, and said it was time for the country to "heed the international community's call" to resume negotiations on its nuclear programme.

Rice said she was "quite certain the (UN) Security Council would find an appropriate vehicle for expressing again ... The desire of the international community ... That Iran return to negotiations."

Earlier this week, China and Russia objected to a tough UN Security Council statement backed by the United States, Britain and France calling for a report in two weeks on Iran's compliance with demands that it suspend uranium enrichment.

The five veto-wielding council members are united against Iran developing nuclear weapons, but they disagree on how to get Tehran to comply with demands by the UN nuclear watchdog to stop all enrichment and reprocessing and answer questions about its controversial nuclear programme.

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 13:48 IST