Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rice: Iran May Pose Greatest Challenge to US

Iran is probably the No. 1 challenge to the United States, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday after Tehran vowed no compromise in a standoff with the West over its nuclear programs.

Rice, who wants the United Nations Security Council this month to start taking action against Iran that could lead to sanctions, also repeated concerns that Washington believes Tehran supports anti-Israel militants and meddles in neighboring Iraq.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran, whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different than the Middle East we would like to see developed," Rice said at a congressional hearing. READ MORE

Faced with the threat of eventual international sanctions, Iran warned the United States on Wednesday it could also inflict "harm and pain" in its dispute over nuclear programs that it says are peaceful despite Western suspicions it wants a bomb.