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Moving Forward On Iran

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In an interview reviewing his first year in office, President Barack Obama said that Iran remains one of the country's "trickiest foreign policy challenges." Iran must understand, he said, that there are consequences for breaking international rules regarding its nuclear program. Mr. Obama believes that the relationship the U.S. has developed with both Russia and China, as well as with traditional NATO allies, "will be very helpful in dealing more effectively with Iran." "We have held the international community together," said Mr. Obama, "both in our engagement strategy but also now as we move into a dual-track approach."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also noted that the so-called P5+1 countries – Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany --"are unified in [their] resolve to work toward pressure on Iran in the face of [Iran's] continuing rejection of the overtures by the international community":

"We know that the Chinese, as well as other countries, have raised issues about the efficacy of sanctions. But we are unified in the position that we have to influence the Iranian government's behavior concerning its nuclear program. One of the reasons why we are meeting on an ongoing basis and talking in many different capitals with our counterparts, is because we believe there is a path forward to achieve a resolution at the United Nations Security Council."

To date, the Security Council has adopted three resolutions imposing legally binding sanctions on Iran because Tehran has failed to comply with Security Council mandates regarding its nuclear program. Our goal is not sanctions for sanctions' sake. We want to persuade Iran to change course by demonstrating the costs of its current approach. "Let me be clear," said Secretary of State Clinton. "We will not be waited out and will not back down. Iran has a very clear choice between continued isolation and living up to its international obligations."