From NBC's Athena Jones
The White House responded with skepticism Thursday to claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the country had enriched its first batch of uranium to a higher level of purity.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that Iran's nuclear program had undergone a series of problems throughout the year and that the country's leader frequently made statements that were based on politics and not on physics.
"Quite frankly, what -- what Ahmadinejad says -- he says many things and many of them turn out to be untrue," Gbbs said. "We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching."
The United States, as part of the P5+1 group of countries -- the others are Russia, China, Germany, France and Great Britain -- has been trying for months to reach an agreement with Iran to halt its nuclear program and thereby avoid sanctions. They have reached no such deal.
"That indicates to us that, despite their posturing that their nuclear power is only for civilian use, that they, in fact, continue to pursue a course that would lead to weaponization, and that is not acceptable to the international community, not just to the United States," President Obama said during an impromptu press conference in the White House briefing room on Tuesday. "What we are going to be working on over the next several weeks is developing a significant regime of sanctions that will indicate to them how isolated they are from the international community as a whole."