The international community has expressed grave concern over the Iranian government’s behavior: its failure to live up to its nuclear obligations, its support for terrorist activities; its abuse of the human rights of its citizens; its refusal to fulfill its responsibility to protect diplomatic property and personnel.
Those concerns were sharpened after the discovery by U.S. officials in October of a Qods-force-directed plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on American soil; by evidence presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency that the Iranian regime has engaged in some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear weapon; and by the neglect – or worse -- of the Iranian regime’s duty to protect the British embassy from a vandalizing mob.
The reaction of the international community has been to ratchet up the pressure on – and further isolate – the Iranian regime.
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution deploring the plot to murder the Saudi Ambassador, and called on Iran to cooperate in bringing the organizers to justice. The General Assembly passed another resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran. After the assault on the British embassy, several countries withdrew their diplomatic personnel from Iran. The United States, Britain and Canada imposed additional political and economic sanctions on Iran in order to sharpen the choice still open to Iran’s leaders over its nuclear program: change course and enter into negotiations, or face intensifying pressure.
But as State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner pointed out, the moves to pressure and isolate Iran are targeted at the regime:
“Our concerns about Iran and about the Iranian government’s nuclear program, human rights abuses are not directed at the Iranian people themselves. So we need to continue to look at ways that we can engage with them.”
Deputy Spokesman Toner said the U.S. wants “to see a more democratic, prosperous, stable Iran” and will continue to seek out ways to reach past the Iranian government and engage with the Iranian people.