WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has no plans to seek an "Iraq-style" U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran if it succeeds in efforts to have the council address that country's nuclear activities.
A senior State Department official said Wednesday there is a widespread misconception that the administration wants the same type of resolution for Iran as the one which led to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year.
If the council takes up the Iran question, the administration would seek a resolution calling for a suspension of uranium enrichment activity by Iran (search), much as the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has done repeatedly, the official said.
The official briefed reporters on the condition that he not be identified.
For almost a year, the administration has been asking the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (search) to refer Iran's nuclear activities to the council.
Thus far, the IAEA board has declined to do so. It will address the issue again on Nov. 25.
The administration believes that Iran is developing a uranium-based nuclear weapons capability and rejects Tehran's (search) contention that its program is aimed solely at generating electricity.
American concerns about Iran's program were reinforced on Tuesday when an Iranian official disclosed that work has begun on converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, a process that can be used to produce highly enriched uranium suitable for use in a nuclear weapon.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, in New York this week for the U.N. General Assembly, said in response to a question that he is not aware of any plans to attack Iran. But he added that the military option "remains on the table."
"I think there's a clear understanding now that Iran must satisfy the concerns that have been expressed by the international community by the time of the November meeting," Powell said.
If Iran doesn't cooperate, he said "there will be every reason at that point to send the matter on to the Security Council."
For the time being, Powell said, the United States is relying on diplomacy "to stop this movement on the part of the Iranians toward a nuclear weapon."