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(photo credit: AP)
Talk of a military strike against Iran shows how serious it would be for the Iranians to continue down the path of nuclear development, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with Channel 10 Sunday evening.
"I still think there is room for diplomacy, but even talk of such action shows how serious it would be for Iran to continue their actions unabated," Rice said.
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Rice elaborated on non-military means of forcing Iran away from its nuclear ambitions when discussing the United Nations Security Council resolution which leveled sanctions against the country.
"The United Nations Security Council resolution will help. It sends a strong message to Iran that the world is united against the path that they have embarked on," Rice said, but she added that sanctions alone were still not enough.
Later in the interview, Rice defended Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision not to engage in dialogue with the Syrians, despite the latter's recent peace overtures.
"There is no indication that the Syrians have anything but disruptive plans for the Middle East," she said.
Rice also commented on the recent debate of whether her marital status has influenced her ability to fully appreciate the ramifications of war.
"Of course I am single," she said. "I can't believe that people would think that would make it difficult for me to understand that when people are at war there are terrible sacrifices. We are in a period of extraordinary sacrifice for the American people."
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, told Rice during a testy Senate hearing on Thursday that without an immediate family Rice will pay no personal price for the Bush administration policy in Iraq.
Rice has said she was at first perplexed by the exchange, and later told Fox News, "Gee, I thought single women had come further than that."
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh accused Boxer of hitting "below the ovaries."
Standing with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Rice jokingly noted that as a woman with children, Livni is qualified to "make the decisions."
Livni leapt to Rice's defense, saying Rice's strong emotions about the Iraq war toll are clear during their private conversations.
Rice, 52, has never married. She is an only child and her parents are dead.
Boxer's comment came during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in which Rice was questioned about President George W. Bush's new war plans.
"Who pays the price?" Boxer asked Rice. "I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family.
"So who pays the price? The American military and their families."
Boxer defended herself in a statement Friday.
"I spoke the truth at the committee hearing, which is that neither Secretary Rice nor I have family members that will pay the price for this escalation," she said. "My point was to focus attention on our military families who continue to sacrifice because this administration has not developed a political solution to the situation in Iraq."