WASHINGTON, November 6 (RIA Novosti) — Tough economic sanctions imposed by the United States forced Iranian leaders to negotiate seriously in an attempt to assure the international community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, US President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
“Because of unprecedented sanctions we [the United States] put in place, that really did have a crippling effect on Iran’s economy, they [the Iranians] have come to the table and have negotiated seriously around providing assurances that they are not developing a nuclear weapon, for the first time,” Obama said during a press conference at the White House.
Obama also indicated that the United States has been able to cooperate with a number of countries, including Russia to make progress towards a final solution.
“Even countries where we have some differences, like Russia, have agreed with us [the United States] and have worked with us cooperatively in trying to find ways to make sure we can verify and have confidence going forward that Iran doesn’t have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons,” Obama added.
A nuclear Iran is a threat to allies like Israel, could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and could potentially pose a threat to the United States, Obama said. Now the Iranians have an avenue to prove to the world community that they are pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful applications only, which would allow Iran to “get out from under sanctions” and reenter the international community as full-fledged members, the president added.
“But they have their own politics. And there’s a long history of mistrust between the two countries [the United States and Iran]. There’s a sizeable portion of the political elite [in Iran] that has cut its teeth on anti-Americanism, and still find it convenient to blame America for every ill that there is,” Obama said.
The President underlined that the next several weeks will determine if Iran can agree to the type of nuclear deal that will be better for the region and the world.
The United States and a broad coalition of governments have imposed sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, which Iran claims is of purely peaceful nature. Last January the United States agreed to provide limited sanctions relief if Iran froze its nuclear program. Since then, Iran has halted production and opened the door to international inspectors.
In November 2013, during the talks held in Geneva, the so-called P5+1 group of international mediators comprising the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Germany agreed to reach a deal with the Tehran delegation guaranteeing the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program by July 2014. A deadline was later extended to November 2014.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Muscat, Oman on November 10- 11 to participate in a trilateral meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and former EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton as part of the EU-coordinated P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran.