Making progress toward getting Russia to more aggressively oppose Iran's nuclear program was likely not an easy task. Russia has long backed Iran and has been hesitant to get on board the sanctions the United States and some European countries favor.
"I think we also both agree that if Iran does not respond to serious negotiations and resolve this issue in a way that assures the international community that it's meeting its commitments and is not developing nuclear weapons, then we will have to take additional actions and that sanctions, serious additional sanctions, remain a possibility," Obama said.
Even though China signed on to the resolution, it's position remains slightly blurry. In Beijing today, an official told reporters the country didn't think further pressure on Iran or sanctions would be effective.
"We believe that sanctions and exerting pressure are not the way to solve problems and are not conducive for the current diplomatic efforts on the Iran nuclear issue," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.
Making disarmament the first point of his "four pillars," the president yesterday painted a grim picture of a world with nuclear weapons. He himself committed to the ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty and work with other countries to ban testing altogether.
"We must stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the goal of a world without them. This institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part, because man's capacity to kill had to be contained," he told delegates and world leaders. "For decades, we averted disaster even under the shadow of a superpower standoff. But today the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the threat his country may pose to the world, instead turning the tables on developed countries and the United States for being the one country that has actually deployed its nuclear bomb.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and is committed to the NPT," the fiery leader told the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday evening. "All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors. Why then are there objections to our legally recognized rights? Which governments object to these rights? Governments that themselves benefit from nuclear energy and the fuel cycle. Some of them have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends including the production of nuclear bombs, and some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity."
The president this afternoon will head to Pittsburgh for the Global Economic Summit with the G-20 industrialized countries, hoping to turn the attention to economy and global financial regulations.
The president spoke Wednesday about his vision for a global economy "that advances opportunity for all people." Today and Friday he is expected to push other countries to eliminate some subsidies for oil, gas and other fossil fuels.