Clinton: Iran must take steps

June 7, 2012 - 7:57 AM
Turkey US Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a joint press conference with the Turkish Foreign Minister during the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul Turkey on June 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Aaul Loeb, pool)

ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Iran must be ready to take concrete action when it discusses its nuclear program with world powers in Moscow later this month.

Clinton said one of the main concerns is Iran's 20 percent enriched uranium, which the West and others say is close to being weapons-grade material, and that the goal of the June 18-19 talks is to begin the work necessary for a diplomatic solution.

Previous talks have yielded few tangible results. Iran insists it has no intention of making nuclear arms and that its reactors are only for medical and energy purposes.

"We want them to come prepared to take concrete steps," Clinton said of Iran at a news conference.

She was in Turkey for a counterterrorism forum and also held discussions with Western and Arab allies on efforts to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop his crackdown on a national uprising and leave power.

Clinton said the six-nation bloc negotiating with Iran — the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany — has a unified position and is prepared to take steps of its own in response to Iranian steps. Iran wants the West to roll back sanctions targeting Iran's critical oil exports and transactions with international banking networks.

Clinton said the two-track policy of pressure and diplomacy has yielded results because Iran has been left with no option but to negotiate or face isolation compounded by serious economic penalties.

"I am convinced that one of the reasons that Iran came back to the negotiating table was because of the success of our pressure strategy," she said.