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World To Iran: It's Your Move First

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks at Georgetown University January 18, 2006 in Washington, DC. Rice spoke about "Transformational Diplomacy: Meeting the Challenge of the 21st Century." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Alex Wong
France rejected Iran's request for more talks on the Islamic republic's nuclear program, saying Wednesday that Tehran first must suspend its atomic activities.

The foreign ministry says Tehran's decision to resume some of its activities means it would be impossible to meet under "satisfactory conditions," reports CBS News correspondent Elaine Cobbe.

Iran had asked for a ministerial-level meeting with France, Germany, Britain and the European Union.

"Iran must return to a complete suspension of these activities," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also brushed aside suggestions about a possible resumption of negotiations with Iran on the standoff.

"There's not much to talk about," Rice said during a photo session at the State Department with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana.

Solana agreed that "there is not much point" in resuming talks if there is "nothing new on the table."

French insistence that Iran suspend its program before negotiations can resume is part of a wider effort to pressure Iran to halt nuclear research that the West fears could lead to nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is for civilian use.

"I think we have a good deal of coherence in the view of the major powers about the fact that Iran stepped over a line when it broke the seals" and resumed reprocessing nuclear fuel, Rice told a foreign policy forum at Georgetown University later Wednesday.

On Jan. 10, Iran removed some U.N. seals from its main uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in central Iran and resumed research on nuclear fuel — including small-scale enrichment — after a 2½-year freeze.

"Nobody wants Iran to have that capability," Rice said in her speech.

Earlier Wednesday, Iran's foreign minister told state radio the nation's chances of being referred to the Security Council were slim. Manouchehr Mottaki did not give a reason for his view, but emphasized that Iran wanted to restart negotiations with Britain, France and Germany.

The European states, with U.S. backing, were calling for a Feb. 2 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency to discuss taking action against Iran following Tehran's decision earlier this month to resume small-scale enrichment of uranium — a process that can produce material for atomic reactors or bombs.