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U.S. Says Iran Enrichment Plans 'Completely Unacceptable'

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Iran's plans to build 10 nuclear enrichment plants are unacceptable and may lead the international community to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran to halt the program, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said today.

"We view the Iranian announcement, if it is in fact accurate and implemented, that they intend to build 10 additional facilities as completely inappropriate and further isolating Iran from the international community," Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters.

Iran announced on Novembe 29 that it intends to build 10 uranium enrichment plants in a major expansion of its atomic program, just two days after the UN nuclear watchdog rebuked it for carrying out such work in secret.

Rice made clear that Washington was quickly losing patience and would begin pressing for new sanctions against the Islamic republic for rejecting UN Security Council demands that it freeze all of its enrichment activity.

"As Iran makes choices that seem to indicate that it is not at this stage ready and willing to take up the offers on the engagement track, then we will put greater emphasis on the pressure track," she said.

"Time is short and we are serious about about implementing to the fullest extent that dual-track policy" of combining offers of incentives with the threat of sanctions, Rice said.

She reiterated that U.S. President Barack Obama had given Tehran until the end of the year to reply to an offer from the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia for economic and political incentives in exchange for suspending its enrichment program.