WASHINGTON - The United States warned Iran on Monday that a resumption of its suspended nuclear fuel activities would have "consequences" for the Islamic Republic, suspected of working toward an atomic bomb.
But acting State Department spokesman Tom Casey did not specify what steps the United States and its European allies might take if Iran broke an agreement struck last year during negotiations on its nuclear program.
Casey made his comments after an Iranian official involved in the talks with Britain, France and Germany said his country would resume some sensitive nuclear activities "in the next few days."
The US spokesman said any move by Iran to resume activities such as preparation of uranium for enrichment "would be in clear violation of its suspension pledge and its agreement with the EU-3."
"Obviously, a violation of that agreement with the EU-3, and a violation of their pledge, would have consequences," Casey said. "And we'd have to look very carefully at what the next steps would be."
He did not elaborate but US and other officials have spoken about taking the Iranians before the United Nations for possible sanctions.
Casey reiterated US support for the European effort to wean Iran off its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions with economic and security incentives. But he would not comment on progress in the talks.
"I don't want to try and handicap how that process is going. I'd leave that to the EU-3," he said. US officials have said they would give the talks until the summer before deciding whether to seek tougher action.
Iranian negotiator Mohammad Saidi, whose country insists it is working to harness nuclear energy for purely peaceful purposes, said earlier in Tehran that they were ready to resume some suspended activities.
"We will relaunch in the next few days uranium conversion installations at Isfahan," Saidi said. The Isfahan plant is used to convert uranium, prior to its being enriched for peaceful or military uses.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said last week that Iran's resumption of nuclear fuel cycle activities would effectively scuttle the talks.