Rice sets conditions for meeting Iranian leaders

Published January 11th, 2007 - 03:51 GMT

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday she was ready to meet "any time, anywhere" with Iran's leadership if it suspended its enrichment of uranium. "I repeat an offer that I have made several times, today. If Iran suspends its uranium enrichment, which is an international demand and not just an American one, then the United States is prepared to reverse 27 years of policy and I will met with my Iranian counterpart any time, anywhere," Rice told a news conference, according to Reuters.

 

If such a meeting held, Rice said both sides could discuss "every facet" of our relationship, which is strained over Iran's nuclear program. Rice said until Tehran gave up its uranium enrichment program, the international community should continue to hold it accountable.

 

She added Iran and Syria should "end their destabilizing behavior" in the region. "The United States will defend its interests and those of our friends and allies in this vital region," Rice added.

 

Her comments came hours after US forces raided the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi northern city of Erbil, arrested its five staff members and confiscated computers and documents.

 

Erbil, a main city in the Kurdish-controlled north of Iraq, is 350 kilometers from Baghdad.

 

The Iranian embassy in Baghdad has sent a letter of protest to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry for the illegal move, IRNA reported. It has called on the Iraqi government to help obtain the immediate release of its five detained staff.

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