TODAY   |  November 30, 2012

Clinton tests Iran on nuclear program

After a decade of threats and stalemates with Iran over its nuclear program, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is ready to open door to diplomacy if Tehran can prove that it is not a threat.

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>> is expected to vote today on a new package of tough sanctions against iran , but last night secretary of state hillary clinton offered iran a last chance to come clean about its nuclear program . nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell is in washington with details. good morning to you, andrea.

>> good morning, natalie. hillary clinton made a significant overture to iran saying the u.s. is ready to resolve the nuclear issue, if iran 's supreme court leader is serious about making a deal. after a decade of threats and stalemates between the u.s. and iran over its nuclear program , the white house wants to test iran 's claim that it is not building a nuclear weapon .

>> that we continue to believe that there is still a window of opportunity to reach some kind of resolution over iran's nuclear program . now, i'm not, you know, a wild-eyed optimist about it, but i think it's imperative that we do everything we did unilaterally, bilaterally, multi-laterally to test that proposition.

>> reporter: clinton says the timing is right. the u.s. election is over. iran 's won't be held until june.

>> president obama 's instinct, which is to try to see if iran is amenable to negotiations is the right one, because that will tell us whether or not iran is serious about stopping short of a nuclear weapon .

>> reporter: tehran is under pressure. its economy in shambles after years of sanctions for not letting u.n. inspectors into all of its nuclear facilities . now the white house wants to show the world it's exhausting the diplomatic options.

>> if it is rejected, it will have smoked smoked out the iranians as to their intentions. the question, of course, is there a deal that we could accept that the iranians could accept? i tend to be skeptical.

>> reporter: of course, iran and the u.s. have other big disagreements over iran 's military aid to the regime in syria and the rockets it smuggles to hamas, but in the second term, no foreign policy challenge is more critical to the president than dealing with iran 's suspected nuclear threat.

>> andrea mitchell in washington, thanks so much, andrea.