Rice says diplomacy stillmay work with Iran

4th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 Februrary 2005, BERLIN - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emerged from talks in Berlin on Friday with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder saying diplomacy still may work with Iran, despite Teheran's unwillingness to abide by international nuclear strictures. Stressing that the United States is not at present considering military intervention, Rice said, "The Iranians to date ... have not demonstrated they are willing to live up to their international obligations." "Diplomacy can work in this case,"

4 Februrary 2005

BERLIN - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emerged from talks in Berlin on Friday with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder saying diplomacy still may work with Iran, despite Teheran's unwillingness to abide by international nuclear strictures.

Stressing that the United States is not at present considering military intervention, Rice said, "The Iranians to date ... have not demonstrated they are willing to live up to their international obligations."

"Diplomacy can work in this case," Rice said. But she added, "it would only work if there is trans-Atlantic unity."

"I really do hope the Iranians will take the opportunity that is being presented to them," she said at a news conference in Berlin.

Schroeder gave Rice assurances of help in restoring democracy in Iraq but cautioned against military intervention in Iran.

Rice arrived from London, where she accused Iran of "destabilising activities" but said Washington had no plan to attack the country "at this point in time."

Schroeder said, "On Iran it is important to note that Iran has a right to use nuclear technology for peaceable uses but under no circumstances can Iran use nuclear energy for development of weapons."

Schroeder added, "Germany, France and Britain are ready to do anything to see that a political diplomatic resolution is achieved."

He played down differences on Iran between Berlin and Washington.

"I understood President (George W.) Bush in his state-of-the-union address to state that he is a friend of democracy and I don't think we are discussion whether anybody is pro-democracy or not, but instead we are discussing what tools to use," Schroeder said.

Rice concurred, saying, "The people of Iran have the right to have their aspirations confirmed."

Schroeder added, "We feel that now is the time for our diplomacy to put our alliance to work in the service of great goals."

Rice, on her first trip abroad as U.S. Secretary of State, said earlier in London that there is "complete unity of purpose" between Europe and the U.S. on the "challenges we face in dealing with Iran."

Rice said while "no-one could ever take any options off the table of a U.S. President", there were currently no plans to attack Iran militarily.

"That question is simply not on the agenda at this point", said Rice, adding: "There are still plenty of diplomatic means to get Iran to their obligations."

She rejected the notion of a split between the US and Europe over Iran's nuclear threat. "It is the Iranians who are isolated on this issue, not the US", she said.

But the US secretary of state, who leaves Berlin on Saturday for a number of other European capitals before visiting the Middle East next week, also made clear that she was on a fence-mending trip following deep US-European divisions over Iraq.

The "joy" over the recent elections in Iraq was shared "also by those who questioned military action", Rice said.

"I think now we have the opportunity to put the divisions behind us and work with a united international community to support a successful constitutional process."

Ties between Berlin and Washington have been strained since mid- 2002 when Schroeder, campaigning for re-election, stated flatly that he opposed any US-led military intervention in Iraq. 

DPA

Subject: German news

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