The Obama Administration believes that the Iranian pursuit of nuclear power is aimed at producing the potential for nuclear weapons, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

“It is difficult to place timetables or milestones (when Iran would acquire nuclear weapon). We believed that their pursuit of nuclear power included a program that was aimed at producing the potential for nuclear weapons. We still believe that,” Ms. Clinton told Bloomberg TV in an interview yesterday.

Ms. Clinton said it was US not alone, but the International Atomic Energy Agency, in the most recent report by Director General Amano, raised the same kinds of questions.

“If their pursuit of nuclear power is only for peaceful purposes, why were they building a secret facility at Qom? If their pursuit is only for peaceful purposes, why would they not accept the joint Russian-French-American proposal to assist them in getting the nuclear fuel they’re entitled to,” she said.

“There is a series of questions like that. It’s very difficult saying how far were they a year ago, two years ago, three years ago; were they further ahead seven years ago, then they backed off -- because they’re such a closed and secret society. But the bottom line is we believe that their actions raised serious questions about their intent. And that intent to pursue nuclear weapons is what the international community is responding to,” she said.

Ms. Clinton said the US is making progress with its international partners on imposing additional sanctions against Iran.

“I think that the constant efforts that not only the United States, but our other partners have undertaken to make the case about the impact that a nuclear-weaponised Iran would have in the region and beyond is getting a receptive audience.

It certainly is here in Russia, and I think increasingly, these questions are becoming important for the Chinese to also confront,” she said.

The top US diplomat said the goal was to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons because of the consequences that that would present to the region and the world.

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