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NATO, EU Agree to Maintain Pressure on Iran


Belgium's foreign minister says NATO and European Union ministers have agreed to maintain pressure on Iran because of its nuclear ambitions.

After the two bodies met Thursday in Brussels, Karel De Gucht told reporters that all participants believed there was no reason to change their position on Iran. The decision comes despite a new U.S. intelligence report that says Iran halted its nuclear weapons activities in 2003.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the findings show that international pressure on Tehran has had an effect and must continue. She is pressing for a third round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium.

The leaders of Germany and France have also called for continued international pressure on Iran.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Iran continues to pose a threat. She spoke Thursday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a joint news conference in Paris.

Rice also plans to hold private talks on the issue Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia has said its intelligence found no proof that Iran had a nuclear weapons program before 2003, as U.S. intelligence agencies have asserted.

The new U.S. assessment says Iran likely will be capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon between 2010 and 2015.

Iran has never acknowledged having a nuclear weapons program and says its nuclear activities are only for peaceful uses.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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