The United States, its friends, and allies are acting to increase the costs to the Iranian government of a variety of harmful activities. These activities include the Iranian government's program to develop nuclear weapons and its support for extremist and terrorist groups in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says that these activities have left Iran increasingly isolated:
"You have seen major international financial institutions say. . . .we're not going to do business with Iran anymore because of the reputational risk or the uncertainty surrounding their dealings with Iran, or we're going to cut back. You've also seen individual states take actions. For example, Germany. . . .they have cut back on their export credits to Iran."
Making Iran's government pay a higher price for destructive policies, says Mr. McCormack, may make more reasonable elements within that government conclude that "these kinds of activities are not worth it":
"The hope is that. . . .you make it much more difficult and raise the cost for them to engage in these kinds of activities, to the extent that they recalculate whether or not they want to engage in these activities, whether that is supporting. . . .Shiite death squads in Iraq or continuing activities related to their nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapon."
Mr. McCormack says the United States has sought to explain to the Iranian people the negative effects that their government's actions are having on Iran both internationally and domestically:
"That's hard. It's hard because the Iranian government at every step attempts to thwart the inflow of information that's not controlled by the state. There are outlets that do operate in Iran. The ability of the Iranian people to get a different view than that being put out by the state is somewhat limited, but nonetheless, it is there."
The United States, said State Department spokesman McCormack, is trying "to work through a variety of different channels to provide a different perspective to the Iranian people so that they can be fully informed."