December 2nd, 2006 06:37 EST
Sec. Rice Looks for Security Council Action on Iran
Washington -- The United States is looking for the U.N. Security Council to move ahead with a sanctions resolution on Iran over its nuclear program even if it means acting without unanimous approval of the five permanent council members (P5), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indicated November 30.
“I'm all for maintaining unity, but I'm also in favor of action. And we'll just have to look at what the options are,” she told reporters at a November 30 roundtable discussion at Jordan’s Dead Sea resort. “[U]nity is not an end in itself. The goal is to get a resolution that makes sense in terms of convincing the Iranians that their behavior is not acceptable in the international community.”
The P5 -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- has been discussing the wording of a resolution ever since Iran failed to comply with a Security Council demand that it suspend its uranium enrichment activities by August 31. (See related article.)
France, the United Kingdom and Germany have proposed a draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran, but Russia, backed by China, has objected to a number of the provisions. Any one of the P5 has the power to veto a resolution, but it could move forward if the objecting parties abstain from voting.
Rice said she remains hopeful that the council members will be able to act in a unified manner. She said she had “good discussions” with her Russian counterparts during the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, and added, “I hope that that's soon going to be reflected in what happens at the Security Council.” (See related article.)
“I think we will get a Chapter 7 resolution,” she said. The July resolution calling on Iran to suspend its nuclear program was adopted under Article 41, Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which provides for economic and diplomatic sanctions if a country does not comply.
Russia has sent mixed signals about its willingness to impose sanctions on Iran, with which it has strong business ties, but Rice told Fox News that Chapter 7 is a sanctions mechanism, “and so I don't think there's going to be any doubt that when this resolution is passed that this is about sanctions.”
Iran insists that its nuclear program is aimed at developing civilian nuclear power, but many in the international community believe it is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Assistance in developing a proliferation-free civilian nuclear power program was part of a package of incentives the P5 and Germany offered Iran in June hoping to persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear program, but Iran rejected the offer.(See related article.)
Rice was in Jordan to participate in the Forum for the Future, a gathering of government, business and civil society leaders from across the broader Middle East and North Africa, and from the Group of Eight (G8) nations to discuss political, social and economic reforms in the region. Rice called the forum “a positive way to push political change.”
Transcripts of Rice’s roundtable discussion and her interview with Fox News are available at the State Department Web site.
For more information on U.S. policies, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
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