‘It will be tough to get sanctions against Iran’
* Rice claims Iran destabilising Middle East
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded on Thursday it would take tough diplomacy to agree UN nuclear sanctions on Iran and suggested worried countries take their own action.
Rice made her comments in a day of congressional testimony where she also called Tehran the “central banker” for global terrorism and a partner with Syria in destabilizing the Middle East.
The chief US diplomat claimed a major success in reporting the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities to the Security Council, which has the power to slap sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
But she added, “I do not underestimate the challenge that we have in getting robust actions, should Iran continue to defy the international community when we go into the Security Council.”
“There are many different interests that will be represented there, by many different countries, and we will have to work very hard to get robust measures,” Rice told the House International Relations Committee.
Rice highlighted US fears that Iran is destabilising the Middle East in a new diplomatic strategy to enlist Arab neighbours to help curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Rice, who will visit the region next week, said she will lobby for pressure against Iran by emphasizing concern likely to resonate with its neighbours - its support for militant groups that she said are undermining governments in the area.
She told lawmakers the US strategy against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programmes was to “remind the world that this has to be understood in the context of broader Iranian policies”. agencies