April 22, 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that Iran faces “very tough sanctions” if it rejects offers of engagement over its nuclear programme.
The US was “laying the groundwork” for such measures if Iran refused dialogue or the process failed, Mrs Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
At the same time, the US was more than willing to reach out to Iran, she said.
Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but has been accused by critics of seeking nuclear weapons.
On Wednesday, Tehran said in a statement it was ready for “constructive dialogue” with world powers on the issue, but insisted it would continue with its nuclear activities.
Last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he would present a new package for discussion, but has yet to give details.
Tehran has continued to enrich uranium despite lengthy negotiations in recent years with major powers and despite the imposition of sanctions by the UN Security Council.