Washington: President Barack Obama has launched a wave of high-stakes US diplomacy in the Middle East as Washington seeks to ratchet up pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
Obama has enlisted his top deputies in the diplomatic drive to isolate Tehran and impose stricter sanctions on the regime, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, chief
military officer Admiral Mike Mullen and senior diplomats travelling to the region this week and Vice President Joe Biden due next month.
Clinton signalled the administration's tougher tone during a visit to the Gulf, warning yesterday that Iran was turning into a "military dictatorship" bent on building a nuclear
Seeking to build international support, Clinton travelled to Riyadh in a bid to press Saudi leaders to use their influence with China to secure sanctions against Iran.
She said during a visit to Qatar that Washington wanted to see fresh sanctions that "will be particularly aimed at those enterprises controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which we believe is in effect supplanting the government of Iran."
The United States, which has vowed to systematically target firms linked to the powerful military force, last week imposed new penalties against companies with alleged ties to
the Guard and is pushing for more UN Security Council sanctions.
First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 16:00