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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (file photo) (epa)
April 19, 2006 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on April 19 that the United States has a number of "diplomatic tools" at its disposal to persuade Iran that it should negotiate on its nuclear program.
Rice did not elaborate.
However, in her speech at a U.S. think tank, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, she said the United States is prepared to use political, economic, and other measures to dissuade Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Rice said the international community agrees that Iran must not have the ability to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is seeking such a capability.
When asked what the threshold would be for military action against Iran, Rice reiterated that political and economic pressure should run its course. However, she underscored President George W. Bush's view that all options remain on the table.
Economic sanctions could further undermine Iran's already shaky economy (Fars)
MOVING TOWARD SANCTIONS: If the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran, domestic support for Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will wane, according to ALEX VATANKA, Eurasia editor for Jane's Information Group.
Vatanka told a February 24 RFE/RL briefing that "economic sanctions will hurt the average Iranian" and, consequently, many "will blame the ruling clerics" for making life difficult and "impairing the country's long term development."
Vatanka said sanctions would be a serious challenge to the Iranian government. If harsh economic sanctions were imposed, Iran's poorest population will be hurt the hardest -- and might react "as they did in the 1970s and protest in the streets." Sanctions on travel, Vatanka said, would hurt a many Iranians because "Iran is a nation of small traders" who depend on the ability to travel to earn an income. According to Vatanka, unemployment in Iran is estimated at 30 percent, "so small trading is essential to survival." Although current U.S. sanctions "haven't worked," he said, "Iranians fear an oil embargo." He stressed that "oil revenues are a major part of the economy, so it is critical to look at this sector."
Should negotiations with the European Union and the UN fail, Vatanka believes that Iran would follow a "North Korea model," since Ahmadinejad's base of support among the "Islamist militias" has been "urging withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]." The Iranian government's "tactic" so far, Vatanka said, is governed by the belief that "by shouting the loudest, you'll get concessions [from the West]."
Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 60 minutes):
THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's coverage of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
CHRONOLOGY An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.