Let’s just avoid those “pre-emptive strike” words, okay?
The United Nations nuclear agency Friday blasted Iran for obstructing investigations into its suspected nuclear weapons program and demanded that the Islamic Republic stop enriching uranium at a once-secret facility.
In response, the Obama administration suggested that world powers might be moving closer to imposing international sanctions on Iran. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called a 25-3 vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency “overwhelming” and said it “demonstrates the resolve and unity of the international community with regard to Iran’s nuclear program.”
“Our patience and that of the international community is limited, and time is running out,” Gibbs said. “If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences.”[...]
Tehran’s refusal to carry out a tentative deal in October to ship most of its nuclear fuel to Russia and France for reprocessing leaves other nations with two ways to try to ensure that Iran doesn’t obtain nuclear weapons: tough sanctions and pre-emptive military action. [...]
One U.S. senior official said any sanctions that might be considered would look to hurt the Iranian regime, not everyday Iranians, but he didn’t elaborate.
The administration said that Iran has until the end of the year to engage cooperatively; after that it may face a “package of consequences.”