Iran has rejected a suggestion by US President-elect Barack Obama that a carrot and stick policy of economic incentives and additional sanctions might persuade the Iranian government to change its behavior. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hasan Qashqavi, said Monday that Obama's proposed policy was unacceptable and had failed in the past. Qashqavi reiterated Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment Monday and said the US must recognize Iran's "nuclear right" before the country would dispel concerns about its program. He also said Obama would have to alter the current administration's confrontational policy toward Iran to overcome the present impasse. "Otherwise an old issue requires and old stance," said Qashqavi. Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the international community should adopt a carrot and stick policy to alter Iran's behavior toward its nuclear program and support for militant groups like Hamas and Hizbullah. He also said the US should increase direct diplomacy. "We are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way," Obama said. "We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them that their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, that their funding of terrorist organizations, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in," he added. Obama said that his administration would pursue a carrot/stick policy in order to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. "In terms of carrots, we can provide economic incentives that would be helpful to a country that despite being a net oil producer is under enormous strain, huge inflation, lots of employment problems," the president-elect said, but did state the incentives he would offer in return for Iranian compliance with the demands of the international community. "But we also have to focus on the sticks," he continued; "in order for us to change Iran's behavior we may have to tighten up those sanctions."