In comments likely to fuel speculation that military action could be used to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, Condoleezza Rice has drawn attention to Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, which can lead to the use of force.
“One thing that the Security Council has that the IAEA does not have is the ability to compel – through Chapter Seven resolutions – member states of the UN to obey the will of the international system and I am certain that we will look at measures that could be taken to ensure that Iran knows that they really have no choice but to comply,” she told reporters. The US Secretary of State was speaking as a visit to Tehran by the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, failed to persuade Iran to suspend its nuclear programme. He is due to report to the UN Security Council at the end of the month on Iranian compliance with a demand to halt all sensitive atomic activities. “We have not seen diversion of nuclear material for weapons purposes but the picture is still hazy and not very clear,” he said. “We need to find a solution that, on the one hand, provides Iran with full rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but, at the same time, assures the international community about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” he added. Tehran rejects calls to halt work the West says is designed to make weapons. The Islamic Republic maintains it only wants to generate power. This week, it said it had enriched uranium to a level needed to make fuel for nuclear reactors and would press ahead with plans for industrial-scale production.