Washington Favors Economic Pressure on Iran – State Dept.

Washington Favors Economic Pressure on Iran – State Dept.
# 04 February 2012 04:16 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The United States believes there is still time to pursue diplomacy and economic sanctions in search for ways to stop Iran from developing its nuclear program, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, APA reports quoting Ria Novosti.

Washington is becoming increasingly concerned about alleged Israel’s plans to strike Iran within the next six months as a military action against Tehran and Iran’s response could harm the U.S. economy and have serious implications for the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

“We believe there’s still time and space to pursue diplomacy and to allow the sanctions that are in place - and again, these are unprecedented sanctions that I think everyone agrees are having a chilling effect on the Iranian economy - allow them to take hold,” Toner said at a news briefing on Friday.

At the same time, Toner said the Obama administration has no doubt that Iran poses a threat to both Israel and the international community as a whole.

“We are consulting closely with all of our partners internationally, but certainly including Israel, to address that threat,” he said.

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee approved on Thursday a sweeping package of tough new sanctions intended to force Iran to drop its controversial nuclear program.

The new sanctions, which have yet to be approved by the U.S. Congress, target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran’s national oil and tanker companies, as well as foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies that do business with Iran. They also include measures that directly target individuals and companies linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Western nations suspect Iran, which is already under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions, of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program but Tehran insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.