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Clinton Warns Iran That Diplomatic Efforts Won't Be 'Infinite'

  • Heather Maher

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

WASHINGTON -- The United States has again warned Iran that it must get serious about proving to the international community that its nuclear program isn't hiding weapons development activities or face further isolation and economic sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on April 4 that EU officials are trying to nail down a date with Tehran for the resumption of negotiations but that the United States isn't "interested in talks for the sake of talks."

She said there is still time for diplomacy to solve the crisis.

"We want to see a peaceful resolution of the international community's concerns but the time for diplomacy is not infinite and all options remain on the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Clinton said.

"Until Iran comes into compliance with its international obligations and demonstrates the peaceful intent of their nuclear program, they will continue to face strong pressure and isolation."

Western officials have suggested Istanbul as the venue for the talks but on April 4 Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that while "Istanbul was our initial proposal as the venue for the talks" there was also the possibility of "holding talks in Baghdad or China."

Iranian officials have also mentioned Syria or Lebanon as possible sites for the talks, drawing criticism from Western officials that Tehran is stalling.

Clinton said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was already at an "advanced stage" in negotiations with Iranian representatives on the location and time for the talks.

"The EU High Representative, Lady [Catherine] Ashton, and her team, are consulting with their Iranian counterparts. We understand that these consultations are at an advanced stage and we expect that Lady Ashton will formally announce the date and place of the talks once it is finally confirmed," Clinton said.

Clinton also said although Washington wants to resolve the stand-off peacefully, "all options remain on the table." Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

Talks between representatives from the UN's five permanent members (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China), Germany, and Iran are tentatively due to start on April 13.
With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters