BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called the adoption of new U.N. sanctions against Iran a victory for the Obama administration's policy of engagement.
Clinton said the U.N. Security Council's enactment of fresh penalties targeting Iran's suspect nuclear program proved that President Barack Obama had taken the right diplomatic approach to the Islamic republic.
Iran's decision to turn its back to White House overtures convinced the world of the need for sanctions, she said.
"We are gratified by the positive response that our year of engagement has produced," Clinton told reporters. "When we started this effort, there was no appetite in the international community for further pressure in the form of sanctions on Iran."
"The challenge that President Obama faced in trying to reach out and engage Iran was politically difficult, but it served a very important purpose to demonstrate clearly that the United States was willing to pursue diplomatic engagement," she said.
Clinton said she was appointing the State Department's nonproliferation adviser, Robert Einhorn, to lead an administration-wide sanctions implementation team.
"We want to be sure that we don't just pass the sanctions and then leave it to chance as to whether or not they are being implemented," she said.
Echoing Obama, Clinton said the door was still open to diplomacy with Iran. "We do want them back at the negotiating table," she said.
She also hinted that the U.S. might be willing to sit down with Iranian officials as part of a group that includes Turkey and Brazil, which voted against the sanctions.
The two countries had brokered a deal with Iran intended to ship some enriched uranium abroad in a bid to avert sanctions. But the U.S. and its allies rejected the deal.
She said she expected both Turkey and Brazil to enforce the penalties, as required of all U.N. members.
Clinton spoke after the 15-member Security Council approved the resolution 12-2, with Lebanon abstaining.
She said she secured Lebanon's abstention in a personal call from Bogota to Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, telling him Lebanon has benefited from "international order" provided by the U.N. She said they also discussed Arab fears of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.