US Tells UN that ‘Time Is Wasting’ for Iran

In a vague but stern warning, the US representative to the United Nations told the Security Council on Thursday there remained time for the Iranian nuclear crisis to be resolve diplomatically, but she said Iran needed to respond. And soon.

“We believe there is still time and space for diplomacy. However, the onus is on Iran to respond constructively,” Susan Rice was quoted by her office’s website as telling the powerful UN council. “The international community should continue to underscore that Iran must take meaningful steps or face increasing pressure. Yet, we cannot and we will not pursue this path indefinitely. We will not engage in an endless process of negotiations that fail to produce any results.”

She continued, “We must therefore remain clear and united in seeking resolution of the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Time is wasting.”

Rice’s time-centered exhortation for Iran to take meaningful steps in calming fears over possible military dimensions to its nuclear program is warning the US has issued before. But this one follows an unusually public disagreement between the US and Israel on establishing clear “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear progress.

Rice’s comments were unclear as to what the consequences would be if Iran failed to move to meet the international concerns about their nuke program, and while she listed worrying steps Iran is taking in the program, she did not set any explicit red lines.

Discussing the most recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rice said Iran has doubled in its underground Fordo facility the number of centrifuges used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear fuel. Iran has been accused of inappropriately keeping the bunker site secret before eventually disclosing it in 2009.

Rice said the IAEA also expressed concerns that Iran may be sanitizing the Parchin military site—which is suspected of explosives tests usable for nuclear weapons—and has also been “severely hampering” inspections of the site by the UN nuclear watchdog. Earlier this year the IAEA and Iran held a public and lengthy dispute over access to Parchin.

Said Rice, “Iran knows the steps it must take to be in full compliance with its international obligations. Iran knows the actions required to demonstrate full cooperation with the IAEA. Yet, still, Iran’s approach remains to deny, deceive and distract.”

Rice also highlighted Iran’s long-range missile tests that violate UN Resolution 1929 and its ongoing weapons smuggling to Syria.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, September 20, 2012)