Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
UPDATE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Saturday in Saudi Arabia that U.S. patience with Tehran is running thin. Iran’s “window of opportunity” to choose diplomacy in the conflict over its nuclear program “will not remain open forever,” she said, according to the Associated Press. Clinton said that while Iran and six world powers have agreed to meet for another round of talks in Istanbul on April 13 she has doubts about whether Tehran is really interested in negotiating seriously.
“Our policy is one of prevention, not containment,” Clinton said. “We are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Friday, March 30: President Obama promised on Friday to push ahead with strict sanctions on Iran, saying that his administration had concluded that there is enough oil in the world market and in emergency reserves to allow countries to limit exports from the Islamic Republic.
Reuters explains that under the sanctions law the president signed late last year, he is required to assess the non-Iranian oil supply every six months.
"I will closely monitor this situation to assure that the market can continue to accommodate a reduction in purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran," Obama said in a statement.
The White House is hoping the sanctions will cut off foreign trade with Iran’s central bank and push the oil-rich nation to reconsider its nuclear weapons program, which Iran has insisted is only civilian.
The announcement comes one day after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Bloomberg that despite international pressure, Iran is only increasing the size of its nuclear program, a violation of U.N. resolutions.
In spite of that, however, Ryabkov suggested that sanctions were not the solution. "Some of our Western partners think more sanctions are like amulets that will protect them from evil spirits. That's irrational," he said. "Sanctions don't take us to any result. They have a counter result. Sanctions are only suffocating Iran's economy."