In her first full day of diplomacy, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had pointed words about Iranian behavior after Tehran announced it had launched the nation’s first domestically produced satellite.
"President Obama has signaled his intention to support tough and direct diplomacy with Iran, but if Tehran does not comply with United Nations Security Council and IAEA mandates, there must be consequences," Clinton said in a meeting with the German foreign minister, according to The Washington Post.
"We are obviously concerned about Iranian behavior on a very broad base," Clinton said, when asked about the satellite. She pointed to a policy review "to approach Iran and how to influence its behavior going forward," and cited "increasing commonality" with U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East for a more "effective and united approach."
The United States, along with Russian and China, has joined a European-led effort to restrain Iran's nuclear ambitions -- offering a choice of economic incentives or sanctions. But the Bush administration had set strict limits on the nature of the U.S. participation.
The six nations have demanded that Iran first suspend its nuclear enrichment activities before negotiations could begin, a stance that Iran repeatedly rejected. The U.S. and its allies also had trouble reaching agreement on tough sanctions when Iran failed to comply with their demands.
While European officials applauded Obama's willingness to loosen restraints on American officials talking with Iranian officials, there had been concerns that the United States would abandon the multilateral effort as it pursued its own direct diplomacy.
But British Foreign Secretary David Miliband emerged from his meeting with Clinton saying she had made it clear the administration will move carefully and in close coordination with allies.
"The new administration's approach fits directly with the dual-track strategy that's been developed," Miliband told reporters outside the State Department. "It takes it to a new level," he said, noting that "they have said the hand of friendship is there if Iran is willing to unclench its fist. It is clear the international community is still waiting for Iran to unclench its fist."
But, he stressed, based on his conversation with Clinton, that "there is absolutely no way that this administration intends to circumvent any of the multilateral approaches that have been developed."
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