Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the international community must work together to solve the problem of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Secretary of State Rice says if the international community stands together, the Iran nuclear problem can be resolved. Speaking on the CBS television program Face the Nation, she cited the unity shown by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in preparation for a full council meeting next month.
"If we have that kind of robust response, that kind of unity, I think we can prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon," she said.
But China and Russia are said to be reluctant to consider U.N. economic sanctions on Iran.
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Joseph Biden, told the ABC program This Week that sanctions may be the only way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
"Oil sanctions will hurt Iran more than the rest of the world. They are net importers of refined oil," he said.
Biden said the United States should make clear to its allies that it will take some sacrifice to deal with the Iranian nuclear problem. He said he believes sanctions may be the only way, short of war, to resolve the matter.
Iran says its nuclear program is designed for civilian energy needs only. But Western nations, led by the United States, say Tehran's plan to build nuclear power plants may be a cover for the development of nuclear weapons.
During the ABC program, Rice also urged Iran to act responsibly concerning violent protest over political cartoons of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad. She said if governments condone the violence, it will only get worse.
"If governments do not act responsibly, we could face a sense of outrage that spins out of control. And particularly if people continue to incite it, it can spin out of control," she said.
The secretary of state noted that protesters in Iran and Syria seldom if ever take to the streets without the tacit approval of their governments. She said Iran, in particular, has sought to fan the flames of anger.
"I would like to have heard from the Iranian government, for instance, not a threat to publish holocaust cartoons, but rather to say that people should not resort to violence," she said.
Danish diplomatic missions were attacked last week in Syria, Lebanon and Iran in protest over the cartoons originally published last year in a Danish newspaper.