Diplomatic options still open for Iran: Obama

Last Updated: Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 00:02

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday
said the "toughest-ever" UN security sanctions on Iran shows
the international community`s commitment in stopping the
spread of nuclear weapons but that diplomatic options are
still available for Tehran.

"I want to be clear. These sanctions do not close the
door on diplomacy. Iran continues to have the opportunity to
take a different and better path," Obama said hours after the
UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing financial and
military restrictions on Iran over its controversial atomic
programme.
Of the 15 members in the Security Council, only two
countries Brazil and Turkey opposed the sanctions while all
five Permanent members - the US, Britain, China, Russia and
France - supported it.

The UN resolution, Obama said, will put in place the
toughest sanctions every faced by the Iranian government and
it sends an unmistakable message about the international
community`s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear
weapons.

"For years, the Iranian government has failed to live up
to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It has violated its commitments to the International Atomic
Energy Agency. It has ignored UN Security Council resolutions.
And while Iran`s leaders hide behind outlandish rhetoric,
their actions have been deeply troubling," he said.

Obama said the latest sanctions will impose restrictions
on Iran`s nuclear activities, its ballistic missile programme,
and for the first time its conventional military.

"They will put a new framework in place to crack down on
Iranian banks and financial transactions and target
individuals, entities and institutions, including those
associated with the Revolutionary Guard, that have supported
Iran`s nuclear programme and prospered from illicit activities
at the expense of the Iranian people," the US president said.
Stating that international community will ensure that the
sanctions are vigorously enforced, Obama said the resolution
showed the united view that a nuclear arms race in the Middle
East is in nobody`s interests and that nations must be held
accountable for challenging the nonproliferation regime.

"The strong resolution that was passed today benefited
from strong international support. In voting for it, we were
joined by nations from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America,
including Russia and China," he said.

"The Iranian government must understand that true
security will not come through the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
True security will come through adherence to international law
and the demonstration of its peaceful intent.

"We know that the Iranian government will not change its
behaviour overnight, but today`s vote demonstrates the growing
costs that will come with Iranian intransigence."

Obama said Iran repeatedly refused the offer of talks and
diplomatic options to address the issue.

"We offered the opportunity of a better relationship
between Iran and the international community, one that reduced
Iran`s political isolation and increased its economic
integration with the rest of the world," he said.

"In short, we offered the Iranian government the prospect
of a better future for its people if and only if it lives up
to its international obligations," he said.

The US president said Washington and its international
partners have made it clear time and again that they respect
Iran`s right, like all countries, to access peaceful nuclear
energy.
"We recognise Iran`s rights, but with those rights come
responsibilities. And time and again, the Iranian government
has failed to meet those responsibilities. Iran concealed a
nuclear enrichment facility in Qom that raised serious
questions about the nature of its programme.

"Iran further violated its own obligations under UN
Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment.
Instead, they`re enriching up to 20 per cent. It has failed to
comply fully with IAEA`s requirements," he said.

"Indeed, Iran is the only NPT signatory in the world --
the only one -- that cannot convince the IAEA that its nuclear
programme is intended for peaceful purposes. That`s why the
international community was compelled to impose these serious
consequences," Obama said.

Obama said the sanctions are not against the Iranian
people and that they were imposed due to the defiant stand of
the Iranian regime.

"I would like nothing more than to reach the day when the
Iranian government fulfills its international obligations, a
day when these sanctions are lifted, previous sanctions are
lifted, and the Iranian people can finally fulfill the
greatness of the Iranian nation," he said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 00:02

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