U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington has begun talks with its allies about imposing new sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
Clinton said Monday the goal of the sanctions will be to pressure Iran's government and Revolutionary Guard Corps without contributing to the "suffering" of ordinary people, as she put it. She was speaking at a news conference with Qatar's visiting prime minister.
Clinton expressed disappointment that Iran has ignored U.S. appeals to accept a U.N.-backed nuclear fuel deal aimed at easing Western concerns that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. Washington had called on Iran to agree to the deal by the end of last year.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful. Last Saturday, Iran gave the West one month to accept its counter-proposal to the nuclear fuel deal or risk seeing Tehran boost production of highly-enriched uranium. Clinton says the counter-offer is "unacceptable."
U.S. officials say any new sanctions would target individuals and institutions linked to Iran's leadership and Revolutionary Guards, the country's most powerful military force.
Under the U.N.-backed plan, Iran would ship most of its low-enriched uranium abroad for refinement into a higher-grade fuel for a nuclear research reactor. Iran says it fears it might not get all of the uranium back.
Clinton says the United States cannot stand by while Iran talks about increasing output of highly-enriched uranium, which she says can "very likely" be put to military use. She also says Washington wants to keep the door open for dialogue with Iran.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.