DOHA, Qatar - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, shoring up support in the Middle East for a hard line against Iran, said Sunday "evidence is accumulating" of that nation's intention to produce nuclear weapons.
The world has "little choice but to impose greater costs" to force Iran to rein in its program, Clinton said in remarks to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum. She said the United States is working with allies "to prepare and implement new measures to persuade Iran" to reconsider.
Clinton is visiting Qatar and Saudi Arabia to build support for pressuring Iran and for urging Palestinians to return to peace talks with Israel. She also used her speech to address concerns in the region that the United States has not done enough to make good on President Barack Obama's promise of improved relations with the Muslim world.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber al-Thani urged "direct dialogue between Iran and the United States" to resolve the impasse.
Clinton replied that Obama had made numerous overtures to engage Iran, with scant results. "Engagement has to be a two-way street," she said. "It cannot be done alone in a room talking to yourself."
Referring to concerns by UN atomic energy inspectors that Iran has built a secret facility near Qom, she added, "We don't want to be engaging while they're building their bomb."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is willing to serve as the venue for a swap of Iran's low-enriched uranium for fuel rods needed for the Tehran medical reactor. - Bloomberg News