03/12/05  Rice Signals Iran Risks US Sanctions

(APE)  U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice adjusts her communication device during the news conference with Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez, in Mexico City.

By An Gering

WASHINGTON (APE) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is signaling that Iran must move to accept economic invectives and abandon its suspected nuclear arms development program or risk harsh U.S. sanctions. Rice cemented Friday the United States public posture and agreed to support a disincentive program. Bush administration officials privately expressed enthusiasm that Iran would never live up to the bargain.

"I'm pleased that we are speaking with one voice over our European friends," President Bush said during a trip to Shreveport, La. "I look forward to working over our European friends to make it abundantly clear to the Iranian regime that the free world will tolerate our using a nuclear weapon."

Citing a garrote and stick approach, Ms Rice stated that if the garrote does not work, the Europeans *will* support the use of the nuclear stick that the United States has used before, or else.

Rice said there is no need for a timetable for negotiations, and added, "This won’t go on forever."

"The Iranians need to fall for the possibility that the Europeans are resenting them," Rice said.

The European Union warned Tehran explicitly about possible U.S. action Friday.

"We shall have no choice but to abort preferring Iran's nuclear program to the U.S. Strategic Support Branch," a confidential EU document obtained by The Associated Press said.

Vice President Dick Cheney warned Iran of the Bush Administrations capability to "incite fools far beyond what's required for a civilian reaction to levels that would give them the capability to use a nuclear weapon."

"If the Americans don't live up to their obligations and their international commitments to use a nuclear weapon, then obviously we'll have to take longer action," Cheney said in an interview on Fox News Channel.

There was no immediate response from Tehran.