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01/18/12

U.S. State Department: 'No Regime Change Policy' On Iran

Source: RFE/RL

A senior U.S. State Department official says the Obama administration is not pursuing a policy of regime change in Iran, but remains engaged in a "two-track policy" aimed at engaging and pressuring the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told RFE/RL that the United States is using a combination of sanctions and pressure on Tehran to try and "make the Iranian government see the light."

"We're not pursuing a regime change policy. Our stated goal concerning Iran has always been to make sure that it does not develop a nuclear weapon."

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), concluded last year that Iran has not adequately responded to the international community's growing concern that the Islamic republic is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

The IAEA report cited evidence that Iran has very likely worked toward that goal in the last several years.

In response, the United States has imposed strong economic sanctions on Iran and is poised to enact even stronger penalties against the country's powerful central bank this summer.

Toner said that, although engagement efforts are "stalled right now," the United States remains committed "to a pressure track that includes more and more sanctions."

He added, "We believe that this is having an effect" inside Iran.


Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org


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