US official disavows 'artificial deadlines' for action on Iran
Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN, sounded less strident Friday in addressing Iran’s nuclear program than Secretary of State Clinton has.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, sounded less strident Friday in addressing the issue of Iran’s nuclear program than Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has, refusing to discuss what she called “artificial deadlines” for action on Iran. This suggested that room still exists for diplomacy with Tehran.Skip to next paragraph
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At a Monitor breakfast on the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Ambassador Rice said the United States under President Obama is taking “a new and different approach to the UN” that sees the world body as a crucial and potentially even more effective contributor to addressing “a world of 21st-century transnational security challenges.”
On Iran, Rice said the US will evaluate over “the days and weeks to come” the letter that the Iranians sent to Europeans Wednesday. That letter was in response to a Western proposal in April for negotiations in exchange for a halt to Iran’s uranium enrichment. Also within that time frame, the Security Council will review the existing sanctions against Iran, she said, and the Council’s permanent members and Germany – the so-called P5+1 group – will meet to discuss possible further action.
Rice sought to quiet speculation that Russia and China are already set against a toughening of sanctions on Iran. She noted that those two powers – both permanent members of the Council with veto power to stop its action – have a historical disposition against sanctions and are often reluctant to adopt them. But the two countries, she noted, joined the Council in June in passing one of the UN’s toughest sanctions resolutions ever against North Korea over that country’s nuclear activities.
Still, Rice did not employ the tone that Secretary Clinton did in congressional testimony earlier this year when she said that the US would seek “crippling” sanctions against Iran if it did not respond positively and in a timely manner to the West’s April proposal and to Mr. Obama’s call for negotiations with Iran.