Washington: The ultimate goal of the US and its international partners is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
"Our ultimate goal is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. That is our ultimate goal. We think these sanctions give us additional tools in our arsenal to be able to achieve that," Hillary told reporters in Bogota, Colombia, where she is travelling.
"Now, we can, we believe, slow down and certainly interfere with and make much more difficult their continuing nuclear program through these sanctions. So that, in and of itself, is an important accomplishment," she said.
Reiterating Obama administration`s view that it was open to diplomacy, Hillary said: "We are open to effective diplomacy. We are open to achieving our ultimate goal. I think that`s what everybody is. I mean, people may have come at this from different perspectives, and it was extremely difficult to make the case for a lot of members of the Security Council over the last months.”
"But at the end of the day, there was a super majority who believed that this was a necessary step to take on its own. But it was also a significant and important step to take to try to get back to diplomatic engagement and, hopefully, negotiations," she said.
Hillary said the sanctions send a kind of message to entire Iranian leadership, which is quite diverse in their assessments and reactions, that there was still an opportunity for them to participate and to work with the US and its international partners in the framework of being able to have a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, but to give up, as Brazil did, as others have, the potential of seeking nuclear weapons.
The Secretary of State said this was a very important decision by the international community to demonstrate resolve and unity in the face of Iran`s continuing defiance of the rules and norms of the IAEA and the expectations of the Security Council.
"This set of sanctions, the first agreed to under the Obama administration, adds to and strengthens the sanction regime," she said.
"When we started this effort, there was no appetite in the international community for further pressure in the form of sanctions on Iran. The challenge that President Obama faced in trying to reach out and engage Iran was politically difficult, but it served a very important purpose: to demonstrate clearly that the US was willing to pursue diplomatic engagement and therefore our efforts were always on a dual-track approach," she added.
So every step along the way, Hillary said the US and its international partners have demonstrated that their goal is to ensure that Iran`s nuclear program is only and can only be considered for peaceful purposes.
"We set that goal and we said we would pursue it in various venues. But at the end of the day, it became clear that Iran was not willing to abide by the expectations of the international community," she said.
"Its announcement that it was going to move toward 20 percent enrichment was another wake-up call for a lot of countries that were undecided about how to proceed. So during the past months, in an intense diplomatic effort, we made a case along with others that we needed to take Iran back to the Security Council," Hillary said.