International Community Must Focus on Iran's Actions, Rice Says
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 14, 2006 The international community must focus on the actions of the Iranian regime and not just on the rhetoric of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.
"We have to focus not just on what he's saying," Rice told Sean Hannity, host of a nationally syndicated radio program that bears his name. "We have to focus on the behavior of the Iranian regime, and thus far, every time the international community has said, 'Iran, you must do this,' Iran has done just the opposite."
Iran claimed earlier this week that it has successfully enriched uranium. This action, if true, violates a March U.N. Security Council presidential statement, which called for Iran to cease its enrichment program.
"The statement said that after 30 days, we would reassess the situation," she said. "Nothing suggests that Iran is doing anything but defying the international community."
Rice said she felt the Security Council now has the right to force Iran's hand through a resolution in Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which opens the possibility for the Security Council to use force to deal with noncompliance.
"Now, what that means is that there are enforcement actions," she said. "For instance, you could have freezes of assets, political isolation, you could have a number of means to make it very difficult for the Iranians to continue this policy unless they're prepared to face real isolation."
Military action is also a possibility under the Chapter 7 resolution.
When Hannity asked about possible U.S. military plans to strike Iran, Rice said that was "wild speculation," but added that the United States would keep all its options open, including military action.
"The president of the United States is never going to take his options off the table, and I don't really think people should want the president to take his options off the table," Rice said. "The Iranians need to know that the president has options."
But the secretary stressed that the United States is committed to a diplomatic course of action with Iran. "We're committed to a diplomatic course," she said, "but you simply can't be in a situation in which the president starts taking options off the table."
Rice said the international community would also be judged by its action.
"This is going to be an issue of credibility for the international community," she said. "If the U.N. Security Council says, 'You must do these things and we'll assess in 30 days,' and Iran has not only not done those things, but has taken steps that are exactly the opposite, ... then the Security Council is going to have to act."