US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has invoked self-defence as a potential justification for military intervention in Iran. Rice said the US had the authority to act alone or with a coalition if the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme could not be resolved within the context of the United Nations Security Council.The UN Security Council has given Iran until the 28th of April to comply with its demands to stop enriching uranium. Iran has ignored the ultimatum, while China and Russia have both made clear they will use their power of veto against sanctions. However, a senior US official at the meeting said they are in the minority: “We heard last night, and again today, from individual countries, that all of those who spoke, and it was the great majority, are looking at sanctions”, said senior White House official Nicholas Burns. Iran’s programme of low-grade uranium enrichment has stoked western fears that the country plans to manufacture nuclear weapons. But the country has always insisted its research is peaceful and aimed at generating domestic energy.