AFP: The United States said Friday that "time is running out"
for Iran to avoid being hauled before the UN Security Council
for possible sanctions by complying with international demands to halt uranium enrichment activities and come
clean on its suspect nuclear program. AFP

WASHINGTON - The United States said Friday that "time is running out" for Iran to avoid being hauled before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions by complying with international demands to halt uranium enrichment activities and come clean on its suspect nuclear program.

The State Department noted that next month's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors was fast approaching and recalled that the IAEA had set a November deadline for Iran to comply with the threat of UN Security Council referral if it does not.

"Iran needs to agree to that and needs to be able to put the IAEA in a position to verify and report it," spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.

He declined to comment on whether the US position on bringing the matter to the Security Council might change depending on talks between Tehran and Europe's big three nations who are now trying to convince Iran to abandon uranium enrichment in return for concessions.

"Time is running out on the Iranians," Boucher said, noting that the talks Britain, France and Germany are having with Iran had yet to yield any result and that the IAEA board is scheduled to meet on November 25.

"But at the same time, these discussions will continue and we will see where we are in November whether or not Iran has met the requirements," he said. "That's the issue and it's a simple issue as far as we're concerned."

Iran and the so-called "EU3," have met twice this month to discuss the incentives and are to resume the last-chance talks in Paris next week as the IAEA meeting looms.

In Tehran, influential former president Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran would continue the talks but would reject any threats aimed at depriving the country of peaceful nuclear technology.

Iran insists that its program is for civilian power and has angrily dismissed persistent US accusations that it is really a cover for secret nuclear weapons development.

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