President Barack Obama today said he would prefer a diplomatic solution to the nuclear weapons programme of Iran, as he noted that the military option, which he did not rule out altogether, was messy.
At the same time, Obama insisted that there has been no change in his determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“I’ve said before and I will repeat, we do not want Iran having nuclear weapons. It would be not only dangerous to us and our allies, but it would be destabilising to the entire region and could trigger a nuclear arms race that would make life much more dangerous for all of us,” Obama told reporters at a White House news conference.
“So our policy is, Iran cannot have nuclear weapons, and I’m leaving all options on the table to make sure that we meet that goal,” he said.
“What I have said to members of Congress is that if in fact we’re serious about trying to resolve this diplomatically, because no matter how good our military is, military options are always messy, are always difficult, always have unintended consequences, and in this situation are never complete in terms of making us certain that they don’t then go out and pursue even more vigorously nuclear weapons in the future, if we’re serious about pursuing diplomacy, then there is no need for us to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective and that brought them in table in the first place,” Obama said.
“The reason we’ve got such vigorous sanctions is because I and my administration put in place when I came into office the international structure to have the most effective sanctions ever. So, I think it’s fair to say that I know a little bit about sanctions, since we set them up and made sure that we mobilised the entire international community so that there weren’t a lot of loopholes and they really had bite,” he said.
“And the intention in setting up those sanctions always was to bring the Iranians to the table so that we could resolve this issue peacefully, because that is my preference. That’s my preference because any armed conflict has costs to it, but it’s also my preference because the best way to assure that a country does not have nuclear weapons is that they are making a decision not to have nuclear weapons and we are in a position to verify that they don’t have nuclear weapons,” Obama said in response to a question.
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