Nov. 14 - President Barack Obama says there is no need to pass more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program if the U.S. is truly ''serious about pursuing diplomacy''. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the United States did not need to place any more sanctions on Iran over the country's nuclear program. Obama made the comments during a White House briefing and said that the U.S. should first test Iran's willingness to resolve the dispute diplomatically. "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 to the table in the first place. Now, if it turns out they can't deliver, they can't come to the table in a serious way and get this issue resolved, the sanctions can be ramped back up and we've got that option," Obama told members of the media at the White House. Obama also made clear, however, that the U.S. has not budged on its position that Iran cannot have nuclear weapons. "We do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, and it would be not only dangerous to us and our allies, but it would be destabilizing to the entire region and could trigger a nuclear arms race that would make life more dangerous for all of us. 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," Obama said. Obama's remarks came after a United Nations report revealed on Thursday (October 14) that Iran had virtually halted a previously rapid expansion of its uranium-enrichment capacity since the Hassan Rouhani became the country's president. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also found in a separate report that no further components had been added to a potential plutonium-producing reactor since August. The marked slowdown in the growth of Iranian nuclear activity may be intended to back up Rouhani's dramatic shift in tone towards the West after years of worsening confrontation, and strengthen Tehran's hand in negotiations with world powers due to resume on November 20.