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. Rice hopeful Iranians will negotiate on nukes
WASHINGTON (AFP) May 12, 2005
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed hope Thursday that Iran would accept a deal to scrap any suspect nuclear fuel activities, despite Tehran's announcement it planned to resume them soon.

"The Iranians have been making various threats publicly. We are following it very closely," Rice told a Senate committee here, amid speculation Tehran would pursue efforts to eventually develop nuclear weapons.

"But it's our hope that the Iranians are going to continue these negotiations because it's really the only reliable way for them to really be a part of the international system and to be accepted there," she said.

European negotiators trying to wean Tehran off its suspected nuclear arms ambitions with economic and security incentives have warned Iran it could be hauled before the United Nations if it resumes uranium-enrichment work.

"The Security Council always remains an option should the Iranians not live up to their obligations," Rice said. "But we are still hopeful that they will recognize where they are."

"So we are watching the situation, we are in very close contact with our allies, but we are hopeful that the Iranians are going to take the deal that's being given to them."

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