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Rice: Time Running Out for Iran's Nuke Issue
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Visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here on Tuesday night that the international community was "running out of time" in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

"I hope that there is still room to resolve this, but the international community is running out of time," she said.

Rice made her remarks at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit after a group meeting with foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan plus the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Rice said that Iran should have the right of access to civil nuclear program but should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

She also dismissed as "old idea" an Iranian proposal that France could invest in Iran's nuclear industry and supervise Iran's nuclear program.

There was once a Russian proposal to set up a joint venture for uranium enrichment, which would disable Iran to enrich uranium on its own soil but refused by Iran in the end, said Rice.

She said the right way for Iran to propose anything was to suspend enrichment and reprocessing, and to come to the table with their ideas.

"But I fear that this may instead, therefore, be a stalling technique because Iran won't get to the basic issue, which is that Iran has to suspend its enrichment and reprocessing in order to begin negotiations," said Rice.

Rice arrived here earlier in the day on a two-day visit to Egypt as part of a regional tour, which has already taken her to Saudi Arabia.

(Xinhua News Agency October 4, 2006)

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