US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice maintained a firm line Sunday against efforts to soften conditions for Iran to enter talks over its disputed nuclear program, dismissing as "chatter" discussions among US allies about a new approach.
British, French and German officials have begun debating whether to tolerate something less than a full freeze on Iran's work to enrich uranium, an ingredient for both civilian nuclear power or a bomb, officials in Vienna told The Associated Press on Friday.
Germany was supportive of such a concession, while France was opposed and Britain noncommittal, said the officials, who included US and European diplomats and government employees. They said the talks were preliminary, and that nothing had been decided.
"I don't know where that's coming from," Rice said en route to France for two days of get-to-know-you meetings with the new, conservative-led French government and a strategy session on the violence and refugee crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.