Sunday, April 30, 2006

'Iran will face music' says Powell

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell believes Iran is braced to deal with any sanctions the United Nations might impose on it for failing to stop its nuclear programme. He said the Security Council was only likely to be able to agree on a "quite limited" range of such measures against the regime.

His comments, on ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby programme, came after Iran was found to have failed fully to co-operate with the UN and its nuclear watchdog.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, published a report on Friday which also said Iran continued to rebuff efforts to get answers to questions linked to suspicions that Iran was attempting to make nuclear arms.

Britain is pledged to discuss "further diplomatic measures" against Iran with its international partners, after the IAEA report confirmed the country had enriched uranium - though only to fuel rather than weapons grade - and possibly used undeclared sources of plutonium.

Asked about the possibility of sanctions, General Powell said: "I don't know that there is a very robust plan, or menu of sanctions. I think that the menu of sanctions would be quite limited ... mean those that could actually get through the Security Council." READ MORE

He added: "(The Iranians) have decided to go forward even in the face of potential sanctions which suggests to me that they have pretty much decided that they can accept whatever sanctions are coming their way".

Asked if there could be any substance to suggestions that the US would consider a nuclear strike, he said: "No, nuclear weapons have not been used since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"I think it most unlikely that anybody would seriously contemplate use of a nuclear weapon in the 21st century and especially for such a purpose".