New York: US President Barack Obama has said
US-led sanctions had reduced Iran`s economy to a "shambles,"
in a robust defence of his policy towards Tehran following
sharp Republican attacks.
Obama had previously been reticent in responding to
Republican campaign attacks over his efforts to deter Iran`s
nuclear programme, but addressed the issue at a fundraising
event in New York, a centre of the US Jewish community.
Yesterday, he said that he had mobilised the world and
built an "unprecedented" sanctions regime targeting Iran to
state "unequivocally that we`re not going to tolerate a
nuclear weapon in the hands of this Iranian regime."
"We`ve been able to organise folks like China and Russia
that previously would have never gone along with something
like this," Obama said, referring to the support for sanctions
of fellow UN Security Council permanent members.
"And it`s been so effective that even the Iranians have
had to acknowledge that their economy is in a shambles."
"When I came into office, Iran was united and the world
was divided. And now what we have is a united international
community that is saying to Iran, you`ve got to change your
But Obama admitted that Iran had not yet decided to throw
open its nuclear program to international scrutiny in a way
that would help it move out of isolation.
Obama spoke hours after European Union nations agreed to
sanction Iran`s central bank, freezing assets used to finance
its nuclear drive, in a move that further penalised and
isolated the Islamic state.
The US leader signed into law a new set of US sanctions
last month which target Iran`s oil sector and seek to make
foreign firms choose between doing business with Tehran or the
Republicans seeking to turf Obama out of office in
November`s election have savaged his approach on Iran, saying
that it shows weakness and have even said that the president
has failed to prepare for the possibility of a military attack
against Tehran`s nuclear programme.