Rice signals move to punish Iran is near

The &to=http://english.pravda.ru/war/2003/03/18/44603.html' target=_blank>Bush administration signaled on Thursday that time is running out for Iran to avoid being taken before the U.N. Security Council over its disputed nuclear program, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned new anti-Israel remarks from Iran's president.

"We are moving into a period of time with Iran where I think we're going to have to, the world is going to have to make some decisions," Rice said.

Rice avoided declaring an end to negotiations between Tehran and European nations that are intended to avert punishment at the U.N. Her skepticism about progress in the talks was clear, however, and she chose unusually blunt language to lay out the probable next step.

"When it's clear that negotiations are exhausted, we have the votes" to take Iran before the Security Council for possible punishment, Rice told reporters. "There is a resolution sitting there for referral. We'll vote it."

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