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West to Offer Iran Package for Resolving Nuclear Standoff
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The European Union will resume diplomatic efforts and offer Iran a new package for resolving its nuclear standoff with the West, which will allow Teheran to pursue a civilian nuclear program, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday.

During separate interviews with the American TV broadcasters of ABC and NBC, Rice said the United States and the EU would put on hold their efforts to seek a tough-worded Security Council resolution while the EU troika -- Britain, Germany and France prepare the proposal.

"The European three, which has been in the lead in negotiations with Iran, wants to put together a package that shows the two courses," Rice said on NBC's "Today" show.

"Iran can either defy the international community and face isolation and UN Security Council action or accept a path with a civilian nuclear program that is acceptable to the international community," she added.

"We agreed to continue to seek a Security Council resolution but that we would wait for a couple of weeks while the Europeans design an offer to the Iranians that would make clear they have a choice that would allow them to have a civil nuclear program if that is indeed what they want," Rice told ABC.

"We felt that waiting a couple of weeks is the way to allow diplomatic options to be fully pursued."

Rice made the statements after two days of talks in New York among the United States, the EU three, Russia and China failed to make any headway in seeking a resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

The EU three and the US had hoped to push the Security Council to adopt a British-French draft resolution by Monday threatening Iran with unspecified punitive measures.

(Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2006)

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