"The United States is leading an unprecedented international coalition of partners that has brought to bear significant pressure on the Iranian regime to change its course," Clinton said. "Diplomacy coupled with strong pressure can achieve the long-term solutions we seek and we will continue to work with our international partners to increase the pressure on Iran to meet its international obligations."
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who co-authored the sanctions legislation designed to thwart Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program with Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, said in a statement that he supported the secretary's decision.
"The sanctions are working — many countries and companies have stepped up in recognition of the real threat that Iran poses to its neighbors and the global community and are terminating business relations with Iran," he said. "For the first time we are seeing a real impact on the Iranian economy."
"I think our message to Iran is clear and time will tell what they value more, their nuclear program or the political and economic stability of their state," Menendez said.
Associated Press writer Julie Pace in Washington and Energy Writer Chris Kahn in New York contributed to this report.
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