Visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that Iran cannot delay indefinitely its accountability for a suspected nuclear weapons program, but made it clear that Washington has set "no deadline, no timeline" for Tehran to act.
The US would not accept foot-dragging by the Iranian government as officials weigh various diplomatic overtures that European nations have made to resolve the nuclear question, Rice said at a press conference after an informal working luncheon with the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations (NATO) foreign ministers.
The US remains in "close consultations" with its European allies on the issue, she said, adding that Iran must live up to its obligations.
"I'm quite clear and I believe everybody is telling the Iranians that they are going to have to live up to their international obligations," she said.
"It is obvious that if Iran cannot be brought to live up to its international obligations, in fact, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) statute would indicate that Iran would have to be referred to the UN Security Council" for possible sanctions.
Tehran has agreed to temporarily suspend its uranium enrichment activities during the negotiations process with Europe.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, but the US claims Iran is on the path to developing nuclear weapons.
(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2005)