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Rice: U.S. Watching EU Efforts On Iran Nuclear Issue

Condeleezza Rice (file photo) 14 April 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Washington is giving European efforts to rein in Iran's nuclear program a few more months before considering tougher measures.

In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal," Rice also plays down nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, saying stabilizing the Middle East overrides the nuclear issue as Washington's top priority.

Rice says European efforts to convince Tehran to give up suspected nuclear arms programs are on "the right course," but added that tougher measures against Iran remain an option.

Britain, France, and Germany are trying to convince Iran to abandon certain parts of its nuclear program in return for economic and other incentives.

Washington says that Iran is seeking to covertly develop a nuclear arsenal, which Iran denies.