Transcript for President Obama Delivers Statement On Iran
Today the United States. Together where -- close allies and partners. Took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns. With the Islamic republic of Iran's nuclear program. Since I took office. -- made clear my determination to prevent. Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I've said many times. My strong preference. Is to resolve this issue peacefully. And we've extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years Iran's been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with congress. The united nations Security Council. And countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the -- -- government. These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the run -- economy and with the election of a new Iran in president earlier this year. An opening for diplomacy -- I spoke personally with president -- -- of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times -- Iran's foreign minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy. Bilaterally with the Iran -- and together -- RP five plus one partners. The United Kingdom France Germany. Russia and China as well as the European Union. Today that diplomacy open up a new path toward a world that is more secure. The future in which we can verify that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. And that it cannot build a nuclear weapon. While today's announcement is just a first step. It achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade we have halted the progress of -- -- nuclear program and keep parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next generation centrifuges which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges. And its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work and it's plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran's nuclear facilities. And allow the international community to verify. Whether Iran is keeping its commitments. These are substantial limitations. Which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put they cut off Iran's most likely pass to a -- Meanwhile this first step will create time and space over the next six months. For more negotiations to fully address our conference of concerns about Iran -- program. And because of disagreement. Iran cannot -- negotiations. As cover to advance its program. On our side the United States and our friends and allies have agreed to provide Iran with modest relief. While continuing to apply our toughest sanctions. We will refrain from imposing new sanctions and we will allow. Be running government access to a portion of the revenue that they have been denied through sanctions. But the broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously. And if Iran does not fully meet its commitments during the six month phase we will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure. Over the next six months we will work to negotiate a comprehensive solution. We approach these negotiations with the basic understanding. Iran like any nation should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy. But because of its record of violating its obligations. Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon. In these negotiations. Nothing will be agreed to unless everything is agreed to. The burden is on Iraq to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be exclusively. For peaceful purposes. If Iran seizes this opportunity. Iran and people will benefit from rejoining the international community and we can begin to chip away at the -- trust between our two nations. This would provide Iran -- -- dignified path to forge a new beginning. With the -- world based on mutual respect. If on the other hand Iran refuses. There will face growing pressure and isolation. Over the last few years congress has been a key partner in imposing sanctions on the -- government and that bipartisan effort. Made possible to progress that was achieved today. Going forward we will continue to work closely with -- -- now is not the time to move forward on new sanctions. Because doing so would derail this promising first step. Alienate us from our allies and risk unraveling the coalition that enables our sanctions to be enforced in the first place. That international unity is on display today. The world -- united in support of our determination to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran must know that security and prosperity will never come through the pursuit of nuclear weapons. It must be reached through fully verifiable agreements that make Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and possible. As we go forward to resolve the United States will remain firm as well our commitments were friends and allies. -- -- Israel and our golf partners who have good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions. Ultimately only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution to the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear program. As president and commander in chief -- will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I have a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully rather than -- towards conflict. Today we have a real opportunity to achieve a comprehensive peaceful settlement. And I believe we must test. The first step we've taken today. Marks the most significant and tangible progress that we've made with a run since I took office. And now we must use the months ahead to pursue a lasting and comprehensive settlement. It would resolve an issue that is threatened our security and the security of our allies for decades. There won't be -- And huge challenges remain ahead. But through strong and principled diplomacy. The United States of America will do our part on behalf of a world of greater peace security. And cooperation among nations. Thank you very much.
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