Diplomatic options still open for Iran: Obama
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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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