WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded Wednesday that the U.N. Security Council take "strong steps" against Iran, a response to the country's claim that it has successfully enriched uranium.
Rice called on the U.N. Security Council to take action but did not call for an immediate meeting. She said the body should consider how to respond after receiving an International Atomic Energy Agency report due by April 28.
"The Security Council will need to take into consideration this move by Iran," Rice said. "It will be time when it reconvenes on this case for strong steps to make certain that we maintain the credibility of the international community."
Rice also telephoned Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, for support to push Iran to comply with the agency's nonproliferation requirements. ElBaradei meets with Iranian officials in Tehran on Thursday.
The Bush administration has not announced specific measures it would support against Iran but has expressed support for economic and political sanctions.
Amid international criticism over Tehran's program's possibility to make nuclear weapons, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Tuesday that his country is enriching uranium. Ahmadinejad has responded to critics that the enrichment of uranium is peaceful.
Western diplomats and Bush administration officials said they have not been able to confirm whether Iran has successfully achieved uranium enrichment. Nuclear experts have told FOX News that while Iran claims that 164 centrifuges are working to create enriched uranium, that amount is nowhere near the production level for highly enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb. That would take more than 1,500 centrifuges working for a year.
One Western diplomat told FOX News that the Iranians have been using older P-1 centrifuges, which the diplomat described as "primitive … notoriously unreliable … pre-Edsel" machinery with which the Iranians have experienced a "record of mechanical problems."
A team of IAEA inspectors is reviewing the matter on the ground in Iran, but the diplomat said some limitations imposed by Iran hurt the IAEA team's ability to access sensitive sites.
A Bush administration official described the IAEA review in Iran as "not an intrusive inspection," adding that Ahmadinejad should allow IAEA to verify his claim.
The diplomat, noting the IAEA no longer has the access to sensitive sites it enjoyed under prior agreements with Iran, described the current visit of the five-man IAEA team to nuclear sites Natanz and Isfahan as simply "reading the meter." Still, the official held out hope that IAEA would be able to "verify to some extent."
Rice issued a warning to Iran and the United Nations that "we can't let this continue."
"We're consulting with our allies about what the next steps need to be but there's no doubt in my mind that if the Iranians continue down this course there has to be some course of action with the Security Council," Rice said while greeting President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
The latest FOX News-Opinion Dynamics poll shows that 49 percent of Americans believe that Iran is trying to provoke war with the United States.
The poll also found that 42 percent of Americans say that the United States will resolve the Iran situation diplomatically, 36 percent think the nation will go to war with Iran and 10 percent say it will fall somewhere in between. The national telephone poll of 900 registered voters was conducted April 4-5.
The White House said Wednesday that it will continue to follow a diplomatic course of action against Iran.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the world is united in a message to the Iran regime that it cannot be have nuclear weapons.
"The international community is united in our goal of preventing the regime from having a nuclear weapons' capability or the knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons," McClellan said. "The announcement by the regime only underscores its defiance of the international community and the united message of the international community."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the administration was concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, adding that he would not engage in "fantasy land" speculation about a possible U.S. attack on Iran.
"The United States of America is on a diplomatic track," Rumsfeld said.
FOX News' James Rosen, Bret Baier and Teri Schultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.