Reuters: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday the international community faced a “credibility issue” if it did not impose U.N. sanctions against Iran for refusing to abandon nuclear activities. NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday the international community faced a “credibility issue” if it did not impose U.N. sanctions against Iran for refusing to abandon nuclear activities.
Rice, who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, said Washington would continue to push the world body to impose sanctions against Iran after it failed to heed an August 31 U.N. deadline to give up enrichment activities.
“The international community also has a credibility issue. We said as of August 31 suspend (enrichment) or we will pursue sanctions. We are talking to our partners about that course,” Rice said in an interview with CBS.
Rice is set to have dinner on Tuesday with foreign ministers from the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council as well as Germany and Italy to discuss how to deal with Iran.
China and Russia, who both have veto powers on the Council, are wary of punitive measures against Iran and some of Washington’s allies such as France have argued against a rush toward sanctions.
European foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who has been negotiating with Iran, has also said it would be wrong to push for a sanctions resolution while he was making progress in talks with Tehran.
President Bush will address the U.N. General Assembly later on Tuesday on Iran and other issues when he is expected to push the U.S. case for strong action against Tehran.
Asked whether the United States might be prepared to speak to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is also in New York, Rice reiterated the U.S. position that this would happen only if Tehran abandoned its nuclear ambitions.
Iran argues its nuclear work is to generate power while the United States and its allies say Tehran is trying to build a bomb.
“If Iran is prepared to suspend that, we will be prepared for the first time in decades to sit down across the table from the Iranians and talk,” Rice told ABC’s “Good Morning America” show.
“I would meet anywhere with my counterpart, at any time, once they have suspended enrichment and reprocessing,” she added.