U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says sanctions on Iran can be lifted immediately if the Iranian government complies with its nuclear obligations.
Clinton blamed Iranian leaders for the country’s economic woes and rising protests but stressed that the U.S. policy objective has been to convince the Iranian regime to enter serious negotiations over its uranium enrichment program.
The Iranian currency has tumbled at an unprecedented rate in the past week and, as a result, Tehran Bazaar store owners went on strike on Wednesday, as demonstrators around the Bazaar clashed with security forces.
Speaking next to Kazakhstan’s foreign minister on Wednesday Clinton acknowledged that the sanctions had affected the people of Iran but she emphasized that quick removal of the sanctions would be possible if the Iranian government were prepared to resolve the disputes over its nuclear program.
The West suspects Iran’s nuclear program might have a military component and wants Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and that uranium enrichment is only directed at preparing fuel for its research reactor.
Iranian authorities have indicated that the uranium enrichment program could be suspended if the necessary fuel were supplied from abroad.
U.S. and EU sanctions have more than halved Iran’s oil exports and restricted its ability to conduct international business transactions.