Obama Pushes Back Amid Criticism Over G-8 Progress on Iran

Jul 10, 2009 12:01pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Amid criticism that the outcome of the G-8 Summit’s work on Iran yielded only a statement rather than a punishment for Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama beat back, disputing that this was ever a goal of the summit. “This notion that we were trying to get sanctions or that this was a forum in which we could get sanctions is not accurate,” the president told reporters in L’Aquila, Italy today. “What we wanted was exactly what we got.” The eight leaders, after huddling all day in meetings on Wednesday, released a strong condemnation of the post-violence in Iran, as well as the development by Iran and North Korea for the development of their nuclear program. But they fell short in issuing any further guidance on how Iran would be punished if it did not heed the warning of the international community. Attempting a positive spin after a summit that famously yields little by way of results, Mr. Obama said that releasing a group statement, especially one that includes Russia, isn’t done lightly. “There was the agreement that we will reevaluate Iran's posture towards negotiating the cessation of a nuclear weapons policy,” Mr. Obama said. “We'll evaluate that at the G-20 meeting in September. And I think what that does is it provides a time frame. The international community has said, here's a door you can walk through that allows you to lessen tensions and more fully join the international community. If Iran chooses not to walk through that door, then you have on record the G-8, to begin with, but I think potentially a lot of other countries that are going to say we need to take further steps. And that's been always our premise.” Obama said his hope is that the Iranian leadership will look at the statement coming out of the G-8 and recognize that world opinion is clear. — Sunlen Miller

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