Cheney, in a U.S. television interview, cited Iran's refusal to agree to a proposal to have Iranian civilian uranium-enrichment work carried out on Russian territory.
Cheney said the refusal leads to the conclusion that Iran wants its own enrichment capacity to develop a nuclear weapon.
Cheney described the Iranian nuclear standoff as a "dangerous" situation that had been made worse by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's recent statements calling for the destruction of Israel.
Cheney welcomed the decision by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency to send the Iranian case to the UN Security Council for possible punitive action.
Iran denies trying to make atomic weapons, saying its nuclear program is for the peaceful generation of electricity.