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. Rice accuses UN nuclear chief of muddying message on Iran
MADRID, June 1 (AFP) Jun 01, 2007
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday accused the UN nuclear watchdog chief, who has spoken out against the use of force to stop Iran's nuclear program, of "muddying the message".

"We have a diplomatic choice but it is a diplomatic choice that is only going to succeed if we are absolutely clear with the Iranians, not muddying the message in any way," she told a news conference in Spain.

"The Iranians need to hear it loud and clear," she added.

Rice was reacting to statements made by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Mohamed ElBaradei, who said in an interview with the BBC that he did not want to see another war in Iran like the one in Iraq.

"I wake every morning and see 100 Iraqis, innocent civilians, are dying," he said. "You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran'."

Western powers accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran, which says it just wants to produce energy for a growing population whose fossil fuels will eventually run out.

The US along with the European Union and the United Nations have all called on Iran to stop enriching uranium, a process which can be used both to make nuclear fuel and, in highly purified form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

ElBaradei has suggested allowing Iran to accept a partial suspension of uranium enrichment as a solution to the nuclear impasse with Tehran.

Rice said Iranians were hearing the message "loud and clear" from the international community and the UN Security Council on the need to stop enrichment and she expected "them to hear it loud and clear from the IAEA and its director".

The IAEA last week issued a damning report saying that Iran persists in defying UN demands to stop enriching uranium and was hampering the job of its inspectors on the ground.

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