Istanbul: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton on Sunday urged Iran to back up its declaration that Islam
bars weapons of mass destruction by agreeing to a plan that
would prove it does not intend to develop nuclear arms.
Ahead of international talks April 13 in Istanbul on
Iran`s uranium enrichment programme, Clinton talked strategy
with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited
Tehran last week with other government officials.
"They were told that the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei) viewed weapons of mass destruction as religiously
prohibited, as against Islam," Clinton said at a news
"We are meeting with the Iranians to discuss how to
translate what is a stated belief into a plan of action," she
said. "It is not an abstract belief, but a government policy.
That government policy can be demonstrated in a number of
ways. ... The international community now wants to see actions
associated with that statement of belief."
She mentioned opening Iran`s nuclear facilities to
international inspectors and shipping out some of Iran`s
enriched uranium in exchange for fuel for its research
Washington and its allies see Iran`s nuclear program as
designed to develop an atomic bomb. Tehran says the program is
for peaceful energy and research purposes.
The upcoming talks, which Clinton said would not be "an
open-ended session," have taken on fresh urgency amid
speculation that Israel or the US could take military action
later this year.
Clinton has made clear that time is running out for
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters,
issued a religious decree in 2005 declaring nuclear weapons as
"haram" or forbidden. The US and its allies discount Iran`s
Clinton noted that the Turkish officials had "lengthy
discussions" with Iranian officials. But the US and Turkey, a
NATO ally, haven`t seen eye to eye on the Iranian threat.
Erdogan has built close economic ties with Iran and has
tried to act as a go-between on the nuclear program, breaking
ranks with world powers in 2010 by attempting to find a
separate settlement with Tehran.
The international talks have included the US, Britain,
France, Germany, Russia and China.
Erdogan`s comments upon returning from Tehran suggested
further distancing from US and European positions, repeating
Khamenei`s verdict on weapons of mass destruction.