The United States says it is likely the United Nations Security Council will take up the issue of Iran's nuclear program -- despite optimism from the U.N. nuclear agency that sanctions can be avoided.
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said on Monday unless Iran does what he called a "dramatic-about-face," the Security Council will intervene -- in his words -- "quite actively."
Mr. Burns said Tehran has engaged in unacceptable nuclear enrichment activities.
Earlier today, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, said he is optimistic a deal can be reached soon to make sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program unnecessary. But a U.S. state department spokesman (Thomas Casey) says the U.S. will not accept any compromise that would allow Iran to pursue nuclear enrichment.
The I.A.E.A.'s board of governors opened a meeting today in Vienna that could be a prelude to the Security Council taking action against Iran. The meeting continues on Tuesday, when the board may discuss Mr. ElBaradei's report on Iran.
U.S. diplomats say there has been no indication Iran is ready to allow I.A.E.A. inspectors complete access to its nuclear program.
Speaking in Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Western nations will create further problems if they continue to pressure his government on the nuclear issue.
The United States and EU accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons -- a charge Iran denies. Iran says its nuclear program is intended only to build generating stations to supply its population with electricity.