U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Iran is "a very dangerous state with very dangerous policies." She points to the Iranian government's pursuit of nuclear weapons, its support for terrorism, its destructive interference in Iraq, and its repression of the Iranian people.
Diplomatic solutions to the challenges posed by Iran, however, are "very much possible," says Ms. Rice. "If the international community acts with the kind of intensity and the kind of commitment that it can, . . . .we have means at our disposal to change Iranian behavior."
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says one of the tools being considered is a third U.N. Security Council resolution that would impose additional sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program:
"We're right now talking to the Security Council partners about some of the building blocks, the elements of a potential Security Council resolution. And I would expect that over the coming weeks that that activity is going to pick up steam."
The United States is also working on a bilateral basis with other countries on the issue of Iran. One key goal, says Mr. McCormack, is to prevent Iran from using the international finance system to support its destructive policies:
"This is a process that was begun by the [U.S.] Treasury Department, [by] Treasury Secretary [Henry] Paulson and Under Secretary Stuart Levey. And so we're going to continue that – traveling – working with European banks, financial institutions, as well as some of the Asian banks, Japanese banks as well."
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says that private companies are also becoming wary of the risks of doing business with Iran:
"Business are going to ask questions of themselves: Do we really want to do business with this government if our reputations are somehow going to be sullied by interacting with this government or some of these government entities?" Iran, says Mr. McCormack, is finding itself isolated, and "it's only going to find itself more isolated if it continues with the kind of behavior patterns that we've seen over the past months and years."