In a recent speech in Washington D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the policy promoted by President Barack Obama -- to seek direct engagement with Iran after decades without high level diplomatic contact –- was designed to present Iran's leaders with a clear choice:
"Uphold your international obligations. And if you do, you will reap the benefits of normal relations. If you do not, you will face increased isolation and painful consequences."
Secretary of State Clinton said the refusal of the Iranian government to respond positively to U.S. offers of engagement has served to strip Iran's leaders of their usual excuses:
"The world has seen that it is Iran, not the United States, responsible for the impasse. With its secret nuclear facilities, increasing violations of its obligations under the nonproliferation regime, and an unjustified expansion of its enrichment activities, more and more nations are finally expressing deep concerns about Iran's intentions. And there is a growing international consensus on taking steps to pressure Iran's leaders to change course."
The U.S. is now working with its partners in the United Nations on a new round of Security Council sanctions "that will show Iran's leaders that there are real consequences for their intransigence," said Secretary Clinton. "Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite."
Although it is taking time to produce the appropriate sanctions, Secretary of State Clinton said the U.S. believes "time is a worthwhile investment for winning the broadest possible support for our efforts. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring ... nuclear weapons."