Rice Warns Iran of UN Action Over Nukes

BRUSSELS (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put Iran on notice Wednesday that it cannot use a European diplomatic initiative to delay indefinitely accountability for a suspected nuclear weapons program.

"The Iranians need to hear that if they are unwilling to take the deal, really, that the Europeans are giving ... then the Security Council referral looms," she said in an interview with Fox News.

"I don't know that anyone has said that as clearly as they should to the Iranians," she said in a strong reiteration U.S. policy that the issue of Iran's nuclear program should be taken before the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

"We have believed all along that Iran ought to be referred to the Security Council and then a variety of steps are available to the international community," she said in the interview taped in Paris and released after her arrival in Brussels early Wednesday.

"They need to hear that the discussions that they are in with the Europeans are not going to be a kind of waystation where they are allowed to continue their activities; that there's going to be an end to this and that they are going to end up in the Security Council."

Britain, France and Germany are in talks with the Iranian regime, but the United States kept its distance from that effort and the Europeans has been reluctant to take the matter to the United Nations before making further efforts at a deal.

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier used a news conference with Rice Tuesday night in Paris to repeat that France and the other European participants are committed to letting the diplomacy run its course.

He said he had asked Rice for American "support and confidence."

Rice told reporters that Iran is already on notice that it must not use a civilian nuclear power program to hide a weapons project.