WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States is discussing possible sanctions on Iran's nuclear program that would target the country's Revolutionary Guard corps while limiting negative consequences for civilians.
Clinton, who spoke after meeting with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, told reporters the United States has consulted with "like-minded nations" and "our goal is to pressure the Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guard, without contributing to the suffering of the ordinary" Iranians.
While Iran says its nuclear development effort is for civilian purposes, the United States and its European allies, along with United Nations inspectors, have cast doubt on Iran's uranium- enrichment and clandestine work.
Clinton said she was "disappointed" with Iran's rejection of an international offer of a swap of uranium for fuel for a medical reactor, and called Iran's counteroffer "unacceptable." Iran already is subject to United Nations sanctions, including a 2007 resolution that targeted several companies and individuals associated with the elite military unit known as the Revolutionary Guard, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.
While Clinton said the United States wants to "keep the door to dialogue open," she added that "we cannot continue to stand by when the Iranians themselves talk about increasing their production of highly enriched uranium and additional facilities for nuclear power that very likely can be put to dual use."