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. Japan and Australia want Iran to respond quickly
TOKYO, Aug 2 (AFP) Aug 02, 2006
Japan and Australia want Iran to respond quickly to international pressure to end its controversial nuclear activities, an official said Wednesday.

Japanese Foreign minister Taro Aso and his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer agreed on the issue during talks in Tokyo, the Japanese foreign ministry official said.

Aso said the message was passed on to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki when he attended an Asian regional forum last week in Kuala Lumpur.

"We told Iran it should not think that the international community would wait patiently for its response forever. Iran needs to make a swift response," Aso was quoted as saying by the official.

Iran has dragged its feet on responding to a package of incentives offered by European powers and others for it to give up its nuclear program.

The UN Security Council demanded Monday that Iran end nuclear activities including uranium enrichment by August 31 or face possible sanctions.

"Iran needs to provide a positive response quickly based on the UN Security Council resolution. This issue requires close cooperation," Downer was quoted as saying.

However, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has refused to back down and said the Islamic republic will continue sensitive nuclear fuel cycle work.

Japan and Australia are close US allies, but Tokyo is also a major investor in the Islamic republic and signed a two billion-dollar deal in 2004 to develop its largest onshore oil field.

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