U.S.: U.N. sanctions against N. Korea can be lesson to Iran
WASHINGTON -- The United States on Sunday used new U.N. sanctions against North Korea to warn Iran, another country with nuclear ambitions.
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Iran should pay attention to Saturday's U.N. resolution against North Korea for its claimed nuclear test last week.
"I hope the lesson they learn is that if they continue to pursue nuclear weapons, they will face the same kind of isolation and restrictions that we have just imposed on the North Koreans," Bolton told CNN's "Late Edition."
Repeated attempts by the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members and Germany to entice Iran into negotiations on its nuclear program foundered earlier this month over Tehran's refusal to give up uranium enrichment, which can be used to develop nuclear weapons.
The six powers have agreed to start working on U.N. sanctions against Iran next week, officials have said, but they still have to bridge differences on how harsh the penalties should be.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that, just as with North Korea, efforts against Iran are "a multilateral effort, not just a U.S. effort, and that is extremely important because the United States doesn't need to do this alone and can't do it alone."
Rice told "Fox News Sunday" that "the United States is much better off working with its allies than trying to do this bilaterally and being isolated itself."
Bolton said the Iranians "could enjoy a completely different relationship with the United States if they would suspend their uranium enrichment activities."
Iran, he said, "seemed to be obsessed with the idea of getting nuclear weapons. And as long as they pursue that course, we will have to respond accordingly."
Saturday's U.N. resolution against North Korea demands that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons program and orders all countries to prevent the reclusive nation from importing or exporting any material for weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles.
Iran on Saturday called threats of sanctions "psychological warfare" and said it would not be intimidated.
Iran contends its nuclear program is for generating electricity; the U.S. and some of its allies allege Tehran is trying to develop atomic weapons.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli Cabinet ministers Sunday that Iran remained the greatest threat to Israel and he was concerned about the precedent set by the nuclear test conducted last week by North Korea.
"Whoever takes the Korean matter lightly will soon find a nuclear weapon in Iran and ultimately a nuclear weapon in al-Qaida," he said, according to an official who attended the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter on the record.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told Fox that U.S. failures in Iraq have "diminished our hand and reduced our ability to be able to deal with Iran and North Korea."
Kerry said the Bush administration "has lost credibility in the world. And that's why Iran is emboldened, and that's why North Korea is emboldened."