Iran’s decision to test a missile which experts say could reach Israel and US bases in the Gulf has not prompted a major shift in White House policy.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has played down the chances of more American sanctions, suggesting instead that if diplomatic efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions fail, then multilateral sanctions may be more appropriate: “Until we have tested within the timeframe set forth by the president where we think this engagement is going, I’m not sure that adding new unilateral sanctions is really that helpful,” she said. Last Monday, President Barack Obama set a rough timetable for his diplomatic outreach to Iran, saying any progress would be evident by the end of the year. Obama hopes to begin negotiations with Tehran soon after its elections next month. However the country’s leaders have so far rebuffed his attempts at dialogue. Iran insists its nuclear programme is to produce electricity, and not weapons, so it can export more valuable oil and gas.