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State of the Union: Iran’s leaders face ‘consequences’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said Iran’s leaders will "face consequences" for "ignoring their obligations" when it comes to nuclear transparency.

Very little of Obama’s first State of the Union speech Wednesday dealt with foreign policy, and his intensive efforts to restart Palestinian-Israeli peace talks went unmentioned. However, toward the end of the speech, he turned to his initiative to reduce nuclear weapons development in North Korea and Iran.

"The international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated," he said. "And as Iran’s leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences. And that’s a promise."

Obama failed to mention diplomatic outreach to Iran, the other track of his "dual track" strategy to contain Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program — a sign that the White House feels it has exhausted the diplomatic option.

On the other hand, Obama’s emphasis on targeting Iran’s leaders suggested he still favored an international, multilateral effort to impose narrow sanctions, as opposed to unilateral broad sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector now under consideration in Congress.

On domestic issues, Obama reiterated his pledge to pass health care reform despite recent setbacks.

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