UN Ambassador Rice Defends Sanctions on Iran

Rice responds to North Korean launch in "This Week" appearance.

ByABC News
April 5, 2009, 11:58 AM

April 5, 2009 -- The Obama administration's UN ambassador today rebutted the assertion that UN sanctions designed to discourage Iran from pursuing its nuclear program are failing.

"The sanctions that have been imposed by the United Nations and implemented by the United States and others have had some significant effect on the trade and the banking and the financial sector inside of Iran, and we certainly remain open to consideration of possible future measures," Ambassador Susan Rice said in an exclusive "This Week" interview with George Stephanopoulos.

"The aim here, though, is to marshal all of the resources at our disposal, diplomatic, economic, and other to try to make this choice as clear as possible to Iran, to give them a path to end their nuclear -- illicit nuclear weapons program, enter the community of nations, or, if in fact, they ultimately choose not to do that, then to bring to bear the full force of the international community to put pressure on Iran to stop," she added in her first Sunday morning interview since joining the administration.

"The president has been very clear that Iran has a choice. Iran can rejoin the community of nations, it can halt its illicit nuclear program. It has a right to peaceful nuclear processing. But its behavior to date has indicated that it's not pursuing simply a peaceful program."

Israel has said it believes Iran is pursuing military nuclear capability. "We share Israel's very grave concern about the threat that Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program poses, not only to Israel and the other countries in the region, but indeed to U.S. national security," Rice said.

But she also said she does not think it's "productive to speculate about what may transpire ... the president has said on a number of occasions, our aim is to use all of the elements at our disposal, including direct diplomacy, to offer Iran a path away from an illicit nuclear weapons program. But obviously if that path is not chosen, we have not ruled out any options."