WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Iranian leaders are to blame for the sinking Iranian economy and rising economic protests.

Clinton says Tehran is responsible for the country’s economic problems and Iran’s currency hitting a record low against the US dollar.

Speaking Wednesday beside Kazakhstan’s foreign minister, Clinton acknowledged that international sanctions have contributed to Iran’s economic woes. But she said the sanctions could be removed quickly if Iran’s government complies with its nuclear obligations.

Clinton said the goal of US policy is to persuade the Iranian regime to negotiate seriously over its uranium enrichment activity.

The US and many other countries suspect an Iranian weapons program. Iran insists its program is peaceful.