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2006 Tuesday 07 March
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons and faces "meaningful consequences" if it persists in defying the international community, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Tuesday.
Cheney, speaking to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, also reaffirmed that the United States was keeping all options on the table -- including military force -- in its determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms.
"The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences," Cheney said.
Cheney spoke as the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency governing board was meeting in Vienna to decide its next steps on Iran.
"For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table. ... We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," Cheney said.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said late on Monday that Washington would seek to have European allies and others, possibly including Russia and China, join it in imposing travel and financial sanctions on Iran if it refused to halt nuclear uranium enrichment.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had dinner on Monday night with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and was to hold further meetings on Tuesday.
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