Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has accused Iran of "playing games" in its dealings with the international community concerning its nuclear activities.
Secretary Rice scoffed at Iran's shifting stances regarding international inspections of its nuclear program. Rice spoke on ABC's This Week program, one day after an Iranian official said the International Atomic Energy Agency could conduct spot inspections of Iran's uranium-enrichment activities, but only if the threat of U.N. sanctions is lifted.
"I think they are playing games. But, obviously, if they are not playing games, [then] they should stop the enrichment," she said. "They should answer the list of demands that were in the IAEA Board of Governors resolution. Then they can get back to negotiations [with the IAEA]."
Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are limited to the peaceful production of energy. Yet, Tehran has rebuffed a Russian offer to provide Iran with the nuclear materials it would require for an atomic-energy program, and proceeded with an initiative to enrich uranium on its own. Depending on the level of enrichment, uranium can either be used to power nuclear reactors or to build atomic weapons.
Friday, the IAEA reported, Iran has missed a U.N. deadline to halt uranium enrichment, paving the way for the council to consider sanctions against Tehran. Secretary Rice says Iran must face consequences for its actions.
"The international community's credibility is at stake here. And we have a choice, too. We can either mean what we say, when we say that Iran must comply," said Rice. "Or we can continue to allow Iran to defy [the international community's will]."
There are varying estimates on how long it would take Iran to produce the materials that would be necessary to construct a nuclear weapon.
Speaking on CNN's Late Edition program, former Israeli intelligence chief Efraim Halevy said time has not run out for a diplomatic solution.
"There is still time left, in order to resolve this problem in a proper way. And my sense is that the Iranians in the last 48 hours are beginning to feel the pressure [of the international community]. And, maybe, some of the reactions that we have been receiving over the last 48 hours are indicative of the fact that pressure does have an effect," noted Halevy.
But, also speaking on CNN, former CIA Director James Woolsey noted that efforts to pressure Iran have been undermined by Russian and Chinese opposition to imposing international sanctions on Tehran.
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