During her recent trip to the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said all states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- including Iran -- have rights to nuclear power, so long as they accept responsibility for demonstrating unequivocally that their programs are solely for peaceful civilian purposes:
"But Iran has consistently failed to live up to its responsibilities."
Secretary of State Clinton noted that in 2009 the world learned of a secret nuclear facility Iran was building near Qom, an action which the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, declared was in direct violation of Iran's international obligations. Later, Tehran did not accept an IAEA plan in which Iran would have shipped the bulk of its low-enriched uranium out of the country to serve as the material to convert fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor to create medical isotopes.
Furthermore, the U.S. notes that isotopes are available on the world market and could be obtained as a responsible, timely and cost-effective alternative to the IAEA's proposal. Instead, Iran recently announced it is increasing its enrichment activities to produce up to 20% enriched uranium, in violation of successive United Nations Security Council resolutions. In addition, since October, said Secretary of State Clinton, Iran has refused every offer to meet about its nuclear program:
"These actions understandably have caused us to wonder: what does Iran have to hide? Why is Iran refusing to live up to its international obligations, which would lead to political and economic integration with the international community that would actually benefit the Iranian people? Iran leaves the international community little choice but to impose greater costs for its provocative steps."
Secretary of State Clinton said the U.S. plans to bring the world community together to pressure Iran through sanctions adopted by the United Nations. "We want the world united in sending an unequivocal message to Iran that we will not stand idly by while you pursue a nuclear program that can be used to threaten your neighbor, and even beyond."
"We are still hoping that Iran will decide to forgo any nuclear ambitions for nuclear weapons, and begin to respect its own people." said Secretary of State Clinton. "But we cannot just keep hoping for that. We have to work to take actions to try to convince the Iranian government not to pursue nuclear weapons."