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Rice Expresses Confidence In Diplomatic Solution To Iran Nuclear Crisis

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice warns that Iran should not be confused with Iraq.
by Staff Writers
Chicago (AFP) Apr 20, 2006
US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice expressed confidence Wednesday that a diplomatic solution will be found to the Iranian nuclear crisis, but warned that military options remain on the table and that Washington will not necessarily wait for an international consensus.

"I believe we can make the diplomacy work," Rice said. "And long before we get to the point that we have to contemplate diplomacy failing I believe we have options at our disposal."

Rice said the United States is working to unify the international community in its goal of persuade the Iranians to cease enriching uranium which could be used in a nuclear bomb.

She said the UN Security Council had a number of diplomatic options at its disposal, but warned that the United States could chose to act alone or with a coalition if the crisis is not resolved through the United Nations.

"The right to self-defense does not necessarily require a UN Security Council resolution," Rice said, noting that the United States went to war in the Balkans without one.

"It is important to note that the president doesn't take any options off the table," Rice said. "We are prepared to use measures at our disposal - political, economic or others to persuade Iran."

Rice said that Iran is not Iraq, and that "the remedies before us are quite robust."

The UN Security Council has given Iran until April 28 to halt uranium enrichment or face unspecified consequences. Washington is pushing for sanctions but meeting resistance, notably from Russia and China.

Speaking to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Rice said that the situation in Iran is also "very different" from that in North Korea because the Iranian people are connected to the international community.

Rice also expressed concern with the political situation in Russia, which has butted heads with the United States on a number of diplomatic issues including the best solution to the Iranian crisis.

"It's not gone in a very good direction in the past couple of years," she said noting the absence of a "truly free press", "a legislature that is truly able to check the president" and "the seeming absence of a truly independent judiciary."

While the Russian state is no longer dangerously weak, it has begun to swing too far towards authoritarianism, Rice warned.

But Rice said it would be wrong to isolate Russia because of concerns over human rights. Instead the United States is working with Russia to help the government build strong, democratic institutions and has warned that the current situation is "troubling."

"A truly deep relationship with the United States rests on common values and Russia's adherence to those values is not great at this time," Rice said.

"I do not see any good outcome for Russian democracy that comes from excluding Russia from institutions that have democratic values at their core."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Demands End To Russia-Iran Nuclear Cooperation
Moscow (AFP) Apr 20, 2006
The United States demanded Wednesday an end to Russia's cooperation with Iran in building the Islamic republic's first civilian nuclear power station and also suggested halting a sale of Russian missiles.

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