Friday, April 14, 2006

Rice Eager for Iran WAR

smh.com.au

THE US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, says the United Nations must consider strong action against Iran, such as a resolution that could lead to sanctions or lay the groundwork for the use of force.

Dr Rice suggested the Security Council should consider chapter 7 of the UN Charter in an attempt to force Iran to comply with its international obligations relating to 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," Dr Rice said.

Chapter 7 makes a resolution mandatory under international law for all UN members.

If it specifically calls for sanctions or threatens "all necessary measures", it may eventually lead to the use of force.

A chapter 7 resolution was passed against Iraq and has been used by the US as a legal argument to justify its bombing and invasion of Iraq. Russia, in particular, is concerned that the US may interpret a chapter 7 resolution against Iran in the same way.

On Thursday, Iran's regime dismissed calls from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, to freeze its nuclear program and calm suspicions that it is seeking to make a bomb.

After talks in Tehran with Dr ElBaradei, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, dismissed the Security Council's demand for a halt to uranium enrichment by the end of the month as "not very important". Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the next fortnight, Dr ElBaradei - who failed to secure concessions from Iran - will deliver a negative report to the Security Council at the end of this month.

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said on Tuesday that it had joined the "nuclear club" by achieving a uranium enrichment rate of 3.5 per cent. This is a low-grade enrichment suitable for power stations and a much higher standard than previously attained.

Iran denies the West's claim that its pursuit of uranium enrichment is intended to secure a nuclear weapons capability.

Mr Ahmadinejad refused to meet Dr ElBaradei, saying: "We will not hold talks with anyone about the Iranian nation's right [to enrichment] … Our situation has changed completely. We are a nuclear country and speak to others from [that] position."

Dr ElBaradei said: "We have not seen diversion of nuclear material for weapons purposes but the picture is still hazy."

The Islamic Republic News Agency reported Mr Ahmadinejad was unconcerned about the West's anger. "We say, be angry and die of this anger," he said.

Russia and China, which are key players on the Iran issue and have Security Council veto powers, oppose sanctions or military force against Iran. Nearly all other council members, including Britain, oppose military action.

The US, 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 preparing for a military strike.

Reuters, The Guardian, Agence France-Presse

LATEST EVENTS


-United Nations nuclear watchdog fails to secure any concessions from Iran.

- Egypt says a diplomatic solution is essential but it cannot accept the emergence of a nuclear-armed power in the region.

- China suggests the nuclear stand-offs with Iran and North Korea will be discussed when President Hu Jintao visits the US next week.


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