Cheney warns Tehran

Discussion in 'Politics' started by jzlucas, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. WASHINGTON — "The international community has spelled out what Iran must do — that means suspend all enrichment activity," presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said ahead of President Bush's meeting Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

    Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, said in a speech Tuesday to a pro-Israel lobbying group that Iran will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and warned that the issue may soon go before the Security Council.

    "The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences," Cheney said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    "We join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," Cheney said.

    He said the U.S. "is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime." In the past the U.S. has said it has no intention of using military force for now, but has declined to completely rule it out.

    The Bush administration is getting closer to a U.N. Security Council rebuke of Iran, but the latest round of diplomacy shows the United States needs the help of Cold War foe Russia to close the deal.

    Lavrov is holding multiple meetings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, plus the highly unusual session in the Oval Office. U.S. presidents customarily receive foreign heads of state in the presidential office, but seldom invite a lower-ranking official such as a foreign minister for a meeting there.

    "This is an issue of confidence with the international community," McClellan said. "The regime has shown it cannot be trusted. It hid its nuclear activities for two decades from the international community. It has refused to comply with its international obligations. This is about the regime and its behavior. That's what this is about and that's what our focus is."

    Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley had dinner with Lavrov Monday evening.

    Russia is also a key player in the U.S. drive to limit aid to the extremist group Hamas, which has taken control of the Palestinian legislature.

    The U.S. desire for Russian help against Hamas is just one of several cards Lavrov holds as the Security Council prepares to take up the case of Iran's disputed nuclear program.

    Russia, which has veto power as one of the permanent members of the Security Council, is perhaps Tehran's most important ally and business partner. Russia also has crafted a potential compromise to head off sanctions or other punishment of Iran.

    China, which also has veto power on the Security Council, is appealing for further negotiation. "Iran should cooperate closely with the IAEA to settle the nuclear dispute," Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Tuesday in Beijing at a news conference. "There is still room for settlement of the issue in the IAEA."