Rice warns Iran on nuclear freeze


Condoleezza Rice warned that Iran could face further sanctions.

The U.S. secretary of state on Monday accused Iran of not being serious during weekend talks aimed at encouraging the Islamic republic to freeze its nuclear program.

Prior to speaking, Rice met with Undersecretary of State William Burns, who attended the talks Saturday with the Iranian chief nuclear negotiator.

“We expected to hear an answer from the Iranians but, as has been the case so many times with the Iranians, what came through was not serious,” Rice told reporters aboard her plane as she flew to the United Arab Emirates, according to The Associated Press. “It’s time for the Iranians to give a serious answer.

“They can’t go and stall and make small talk about culture, they have to make a decision,” she said. “People are tired of the Iranians and their stalling tactics.”

Rice also held closed-door meetings with foreign ministers and officials from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Persian Gulf states.

Rice said that Iran has two weeks in which to respond positively to an offer from six world powers to stop nuclear enrichment for six weeks. During that period, there would be no additional sanctions while formal negotiations on a permanent freeze take place.

If Iran does not comply, the United States and the European Union would impose more sanctions, as well as propose a fourth sanctions resolution in the U.N. Security Council.

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