Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Iranian diplomats today that the U.S. remains committed to a dialogue to resolve a dispute over the country’s nuclear program, while maintaining an “an ironclad commitment” to the security in the Persian Gulf region.
“We continue to make this offer of engagement with respect for your sovereignty and with regard for your interests, but also with an ironclad commitment to defending global security and the world’s interests in a peaceful and prosperous Gulf region,” Clinton said in Bahrain, where she’s attending a Gulf security summit hosted by Bahrain’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Directly addressing Iran’s delegation, which includes Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Clinton said Iran must take steps to “restore the confidence of the international community and live up to your obligations” under a nonproliferation treaty. “We urge you to make that choice -- for your people, your interests, and our shared security,” Clinton said.
In earlier remarks to Bahrain’s foreign minister and to a meeting with students, Clinton emphasized the international unity over Iran’s nuclear program three days before talks on the subject restart for the first time in more than a year.
Iran is scheduled to meet Monday in Geneva with the so-called P5 plus 1, a group that includes the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members -- the U.S., China, Russia, U.K. and France -- plus Germany.
“There is no debate within the international community,” Clinton said about the Iranian nuclear program. “Iran needs to know that it cannot violate international rules and regulations,” Clinton said at the town hall meeting with Bahraini students. “It is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but not nuclear weapons.”
The UN has targeted Iran with four sets of sanctions. Iran, which has the world’s second-largest oil and natural gas reserves, says it’s producing uranium to fuel nuclear reactors and generate electricity. The U.S. and allies accuse it of trying to build atomic weapons.