Clinton warns Latin America of promoting ties with Iran

11:57, December 12, 2009      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Latin American countries Friday of promoting their ties with Iran which is pursuing nuclear program under international pressure, saying they should "think twice."

"We also are well aware of Iran's interests in promoting itself with a number of other countries ... and we can only say that is a really bad idea for the countries involved," Clinton said, singling out Venezuela and Bolivia.

Speaking at a policy forum on U.S. relations with Latin America, Clinton warned they should "think twice," and said the United States is "going to support them if they do."

Despite international pressure, Iran continues its nuclear program. Teheran maintains it has the right to generate nuclear energy for civilian purposes. But Western powers suspect Iran of attempting to build nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil last month. Clinton didn't mention Brazil.

Clinton mentioned Iran again when she was interviewed by al-Jazeera TV English, saying the international community still wanted to engage with Iran, but were beginning to turn to more pressure, such as sanctions.

Last month, the United Nations' atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), censured Iran for hiding an enrichment plant in Qom. Days later, Iran announced it would increase its enrichment program by building 10 new plants.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- have agreed to wait until the end of the year before deciding on more sanctions against Iran.

Source: Xinhua
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