<!-- IMAGE -->
For years, Iran has defied multiple resolutions adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council demanding that Iran live up to its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.
Throughout his 11 months in office, President Barack Obama, working with the other permanent members of the Security Council and Germany,(the P-5+1), has sought to directly engage Iran, in order to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's intransigence.
President Obama has said that if Iran fails to respond positively to repeated diplomatic overtures regarding its nuclear program by the end of 2009, the U.S. and its international partners will continue to keep the door open to engagement but will also consider sanctions and other methods to pressure Iran to change course.
Instead of responding positively to the latest in a series of proposals to build confidence about its nuclear program, Iran announced that it had tested an upgraded version of its most advanced ballistic missile, a missile capable of reaching Israel, and parts of Europe.
Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell said Iran's missile test was another example of actions on the part of the Iranian government "that do nothing to instill any degree of confidence in its neighbors that it has peaceful intentions and wishes to be a productive member of the regional and international community.
And it does nothing to reassure the United Nations and the P-5+1 that they [Iran's leaders] are serious about resolving some of these issues in a peaceful, diplomatic way."
U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said that Iranian actions such as missile tests "only increase the seriousness and resolve of the international community in our efforts to hold Iran accountable for its continued defiance of international obligations on its nuclear program."