Hillary Clinton moots biting sanctions against defiant Iran

WASHINGTON; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is vowing that the Obama administration will not accept a nuclear armed Iran and is working on sanctions “that will bite” to press it to come clean about its suspect atomic programme.

In remarks prepared for delivery to a pro-Israel group later today, Clinton said parts of Iran’s government are “a menace” to the Iranian people and the region. She said Iran’s leaders must know there are “real consequences” for not proving their nuclear activities are peaceful.

“Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite,” Clinton was to say in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The text of her comments was released by the State Department.

“Let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” she said. Clinton said if Iran developed a nuclear weapon, it would embolden terrorists and spark an arms race that would destabilise the Middle East.

“This is unacceptable,” she said. “Unacceptable

to the United States.

Unacceptable to Israel.

And unacceptable to the

region and the international community.” Iran has spurned President Barack Obama’s efforts to engage and thus far rejected incentives offered by the five permanent UN Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - and Germany to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a bomb. Washington and its allies fear Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb, an accusation denied by

Iran, which says its programme is intended only to generate electricity.

Israel regards Iran as a threat to its existence and impatience is growing in the Jewish state for fresh action against the country.

Iran is already under three sets of Security Council sanctions.