Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report:
President Obama appeared in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House Thursday afternoon to demand that leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran take concrete actions to defuse international tensions regarding its nuclear program, beginning with allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency “full access” to Iran’s nuclear facility at Qom within the next two weeks.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, with whom the president has been in close contact, will be arriving in Tehran in the next few days, the president said.
“Our patience is not unlimited,” the president said, alluding to tougher economic sanctions if Iran does not take the necessary steps. “The United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely, and we are prepared to move towards increased pressure.”
The president said that today’s meeting between Iranian leaders and the representatives of countries from the United Nations Security Council permanent members – the US, China, Russia, France, the UK – as well as Germany, “was a constructive beginning, but it must be followed with constructive action by the Iranian government.”
He suggested that Iranian rulers take “confidence-building” steps such as transferring low-enriched uranium from the Tehran Research Reactor to a third-country for fuel fabrication so others could verify that that nuclear program is for peaceful means.
Mr. Obama put today’s talks within the context of his outreach to Iran since taking office, efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, and last week’s UN Security Council meeting.
“The result is clear,” the president said. “We have an international community that has reaffirmed its commitment to nonproliferation and disarmament. That's why the Iranian government heard a clear and unified message from the international community in Geneva” that they “must demonstrate through concrete steps” that they intend to live up to their previous obligations and abide by previous United Nations Security Council resolutions about its nuclear program.
The president said he is not interested in mere talk for talk’s sake.
“There is a path towards a better relationship with the United States, increased integration for Iran within the international community, and a better future for all Iranians,” he said. “The burden of meeting these responsibilities lies with the Iranian government, and they are now the ones that need to make that choice.”
– Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller