Rice says UN must adopt tough Iran resolution
Washington, Apr 14: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United Nations must consider strong action against Iran, such as a resolution that could lead to sanctions or lay the groundwork for force.
Asked what options the UN Security Council should consider, Rice said it should look at chapter 7 of the UN Charter to force Iran to comply with international obligations over its nuclear plans.
''I am certain we will look at measures that can be taken to ensure that Iran knows that they really have no choice but to comply,'' Rice told reporters yesterday.
Chapter 7 makes a resolution mandatory under international law for all UN members. It can lead to sanctions and eventually the use of force if it specifically calls for them or threatens ''all necessary measures.'' A Chapter 7 resolution passed against Iraq has been seen as giving the United States a legal argument for the bombing and then invasion of that country. Russia, in particular, fears that the United States might interpret a Chapter 7 resolution in the same way against Iran.
Russia and China, key players on the Iran issue with veto rights in the Security Council, strongly oppose sanctions or the use of military force against Tehran. All other council members, including close ally Britain, oppose military action.
The United States, believing Iran is intent on making an atomic bomb, has said that while all options are on the table, it is pursuing the diplomatic course and rejects reports that it is stepping up plans for a military strike.
Rice, who has called for ''strong steps'' against Iran, said Tehran had done nothing to show it planned to adhere to calls by the international community to abandon its nuclear plans and the world must respond.
''We are going to have to have a response and it can't be another presidential statement,'' said Rice, referring to a statement issued by the Security Council last month against Iran.
The Security Council has told Iran to halt all sensitive atomic activities and on March 29 it asked the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, to report on its compliance in 30 days.
Iran's declaration this week that it enriched its first batch of uranium is unlikely to spur the divided Security Council to take any substantive action sooner than May on the question, council diplomats said on Wednesday.
''When the Security Council reconvenes there will have to be some consequence for that action and that defiance. We will look at a whole range of options available to the Security Council,'' Rice said.
Speaking at the same news conference, Canada's Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said his government supported sanctions against Iran if Tehran did not cooperate soon.
''There will be a progressive response and progressive consequences. I don't believe we want to take any drastic steps that will destabilize a very volatile situation,'' said MacKay.
Political directors from the six major powers handling the Iran issue are set to meet in Moscow next Tuesday on the sidelines of a planning meeting for a summit of the G8.