WASHINGTON – The American administration has clarified that it has a plan and timetable for tackling the Iranian nuclear program and that the method of action will be aggressive and quick.
Less than a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that the sanctions imposed by the West on Iran were working, and two days after he reneged on that statement, a senior Obama Administration official said Wednesday that the US government was implementing a policy to reduce Tehran's profits on oil so that it won't be able to fund the nuclear project.
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The international pressure is affecting Iran, the official told Israeli reporters in a special press briefing.
According to the official, the US has set a timetable for the full implementation of international sanctions against Iran, which would be immediately set in motion and imposed against countries violating them.
US President Barack Obama signed sanctions against Iran's central bank into a law on the last day of 2011, and the sanctions against countries and financial institutions which will continue doing business with the Iranian central bank on issues unrelated to oil will take effect within two months.
According to the timetable, four months later the US will fully impose sanctions on countries and companies which will continue engaging in oil-related business with the Islamic Republic.
According to the official, the US is using aggressive measures and government emissaries are holding talks with different countries around the world in a bid to create a combined process: An attempt to diversify their energy sources while guaranteeing an increased supply of oil from Saudi Arabia and Libya – and at a later stage, from Iraq as well.
The Americans, the official said, have begun identifying attempts by countries like China, India and other oil consumers who have been trading with Iran to diversify their energy sources in order to reduce oil imports from Iran.
The official stressed, however, that the sanctions cannot be implemented immediately and in a sweeping manner, as such an act would lead to an immediate increase in oil prices and an Iranian profit even if it does export less oil.
Meanwhile, an Iranian lawmaker has claimed that the American president sent a secret letter to Iran's supreme leader, calling for direct talks between the two countries.
The remarks, quoted by Iranian news agency Fars, also included an American warning that any disruption of traffic flowing through the Strait of Hormuz oil route would be considered a red line for Washington.