The United States, together with representatives of the United Nations Security Council permanent members Great Britain, France, Russia, and China, have joined with Germany to form the "P5+1," to lead international efforts to convince Iran to suspend enrichment in exchange for a series of incentives that would lead to the end of Iran's isolation.
"Iran's nuclear weapons program is increasingly recognized as a threat to the whole region of the Middle East," said Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband.
In response to Iran's refusal to abide by UN Security Council and IAEA requirements to suspend proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency's investigation, the U.N. has imposed 3 rounds of economic sanctions on Iran since 2006.
"Banks won't deal with them," said Secretary of State Rice. "Sooner or later," she said, Iran is "going to have to deal with the fact, particularly with declining oil prices, that these costs are going to become pretty acute."
In June 2008, the 6 foreign ministers of Europe, Russia, China and the U.S. unveiled an updated set of proposals that recognized Iran's right to acquire nuclear energy capabilities for exclusively peaceful purposes in conformity with its NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] obligations. This far-reaching package of incentives was designed to directly benefit the people of Iran and address the long-term security of the Islamic Republic once Iran agrees to suspend all activities that are not necessary for a civil nuclear program.
The P5+1 incentives package offers the Iranian people concrete opportunities for economic growth, including a framework for increased trade and foreign direct investment that would help create jobs benefiting the two-thirds of Iranians who are under 30 and unemployed; commitments to increased cooperation in civil aviation that could lead to the removal of restrictions on purchases of U.S. and European civil aircraft; and the reintegration of Iran into the world economy that would facilitate upgrades in Iran's infrastructure and greater access to high quality goods at competitive prices.
"The Iranians are paying real costs for their behavior," said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "and it hasn't yet convinced them that they ought to change their course, but there are plenty of voices being heard inside that government that are talking about the costs and about whether or not they have made a mistake."