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Cheney: Iran Will Face 'Meaningful Consequences' if It Pursues Nuclear Bomb Program


Vice President Dick Cheney says Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and that the international community will impose "meaningful consequences" if Tehran persists in its alleged pursuit of an atomic bomb.

Speaking Tuesday to a pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in Washington, Cheney said the United States is keeping all options open to deal with what he called the "irresponsible conduct" of Iranian leaders.

Cheney spoke as the International Atomic Energy Agency met in Vienna to discuss Iran's nuclear program and whether to seek sanctions from the U.N. Security Council.

Meanwhile, visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Bush. He later told reporters Russia has not made any compromise proposals that would allow Iran to enrich uranium at home.

Lavrov said Russian talks with the Iranians center on persuading Tehran to accept Moscow's standing offer to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian soil. He also said Mr. Bush continues to support finalizing talks with Russia on its bid to join the World Trade Organization.

The Lavrov visit coincides with reports that Russia made a compromise offer to Iranian negotiators in Vienna.

Diplomats were quoted as saying the Russian proposal would have Iran suspend uranium enrichment activities, while allowing it to continue with limited nuclear research at home.

Iran has said it intends to go forward with nuclear research and uranium enrichment for a civilian energy program. The United States and European countries say Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons.

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