U.S. senators are pressing President Barack Obama to get tough on Iran over nuclear weapons.
Led by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, 75 other senators sent Obama a letter stressing a need to pressure Iran into not working to develop nuclear weapons.
Iranian leaders repeatedly have denied they are working on developing weapons, and say its nuclear program involves non-threatening goals such as power generation.
The senators’ letter said: “We must be prepared to act and Iran must see that we are prepared.”
The letter suggested tightening sanctions against Iran if it continues to act with defiance over the concerns about its nuclear program.
Sanctions against Iran have already adversely affected its oil exports and international banking.
Unless Iran suspends uranium enrichment, the senators said, “we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran.”
Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, said at his inauguration Sunday that he hoped to improve the nation’s international relations.
He succeeded Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often expressed hostility toward the West over its threats about Iran’s nuclear program intentions.