Reuters: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Iran on Monday to heed a U.N. resolution demanding it suspend uranium enrichment by August 31 or face sanctions. By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Iran on Monday to heed a U.N. resolution demanding it suspend uranium enrichment by August 31 or face sanctions.
The United Nations passed a resolution on Monday which gives Iran until the end of this month to suspend its enrichment activities or face “appropriate measures” under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which pertains to economic sanctions.
Rice was informed about the passing of the U.N. resolution on her way back from a trip to the Middle East and she applauded the world body for its action.
“We wanted to get this one passed and see if the Iranians wish to change course. I am quite confident that if this continues and if on Aug 31 there is not a positive answer then we will be able to come to agreement on the next resolution under Article 41, Chapter 7,” she said, referring to sanctions.
Tehran has vigorously objected to the resolution and says its nuclear activities are to produce electrical power only. It has also indicated it might withdraw from the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty if the resolution were adopted.
Rice said the U.N. resolution did not “close the door to diplomacy” with Iran, adding Tehran still had a package of incentives on the table presented by Germany and the five Security Council members with veto power — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
“The Iranians still have a six-party package on the table that could take this along another route but we have said repeatedly that if Iran was unwilling to make the choice to move on the path toward cooperation, then the Security Council would have to act,” said Rice.
The resolution follows a July 12 meeting in Paris when the six key players in the crisis agreed Iran had given no indication it would accept a commercial and technological incentive package offered by the major powers if it ceased its nuclear work, and referred the issue back to the Security Council.
What sanctions might be contemplated later on would depend on Iran’s response, Rice said, without giving details.
Russia and China have in the past been against sanctions but Rice said she was confident these two nations would be with the United States.
“We have very good cooperation with China and Russia on this issue. Every time we have met at foreign ministers (meetings), we have moved the ball forward,” she said.
“The timetable from my point of view (is) to try and get some real pressure on the Iranians before they move terribly much further (in the enrichment process),” she added.