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The Hon. Alexander Downer, Ministe for foreingn affairs, Australia Welcomes US Initiative on Iran

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I welcome the decision - announced by US Secretary of State Rice on 31 May - that the United States is ready to join the UK, France and Germany (the EU3) in direct talks with Iran, as soon as Iran fully and verifiably suspends all enrichment and reprocessing activities.

This announcement underscores the United States’ commitment - shared by Australia - to a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue.

Australia urges Iran not to lose this opportunity. Iran must seriously consider a comprehensive package of incentives to be offered by the EU3 with the active support of the United States.

Australia calls on Iran to reinstate a full and verifiable suspension on all enrichment and reprocessing activities and return to full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran must make a choice. It can continue down its current, negative path in defiance of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and face increasing isolation. Or Iran can make a positive and constructive decision to change course, and cooperate to restore international confidence in its nuclear program.

The future for Iran should be as a respected member of the international community, not as another rogue state such as North Korea.

If Iran fails to make the right choice the UNSC will need to respond firmly to Iran’s defiance of the Security Council’s 29 March statement calling for Iran to comply with IAEA Board of Governors resolutions including re-instating a full suspension of all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

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