A "Constructive Beginning" With "Hard Work Ahead"

(President Barack Obama makes a statement on the Iranian nuclear program, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Upon conclusion of the P5+1 meeting on Iran, President Obama sent a strong message on behalf of the international community: Iran must take "concrete action" in regards to its nuclear program. He also warned that Washington and allied nations are prepared to increase pressure if Iran does not take "constructive" steps:
The result is clear:  The P5-plus-1 is united, and we have an international community that has reaffirmed its commitment to non-proliferation and disarmament.  That’s why the Iranian government heard a clear and unified message from the international community in Geneva:  Iran must demonstrate through concrete steps that it will live up to its responsibilities with regard to its nuclear program.
In pursuit of that goal, today’s meeting was a constructive beginning, but it must be followed by constructive action by the Iranian government.
First, Iran must demonstrate its commitment to transparency. Earlier this month, we presented clear evidence that Iran has been building a covert nuclear facility in Qom.  Since Iran has now agreed to cooperate fully and immediately with the International Atomic Energy Agency, it must grant unfettered access to IAEA inspectors within two weeks.  I’ve been in close touch with the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, who will be traveling to Tehran in the days ahead.  He has my full support, and the Iranian government must grant the IAEA full access to the site in Qom.
Second, Iran must take concrete steps to build confidence that its nuclear program will serve peaceful purposes -- steps that meet Iran’s obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.  The IAEA proposal that was agreed to in principle today with regard to the Tehran research reactor is a confidence-building step that is consistent with that objective -– provided that it transfers Iran’s low enriched uranium to a third country for fuel fabrication.  As I’ve said before, we support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear power.  Taking the step of transferring its low enriched uranium to a third country would be a step towards building confidence that Iran’s program is in fact peaceful.
Going forward, we expect to see swift action.  We’re committed to serious and meaningful engagement.  But we’re not interested in talking for the sake of talking.  If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely, and we are prepared to move towards increased pressure.  If Iran takes concrete steps and lives up to its obligations, there is a path towards a better relationship with the United States, increased integration with the international community, and a better future for all Iranians.
(President Barack Obama makes a statement on the Iranian nuclear program, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Related Topics: Foreign Policy
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