Washington, Jan. 24 – U.S. President Obama said Tuesday he would take no options off the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but added that a peaceful resolution of the crisis was still possible.
In his State of the Union Address to Congress, Obama took credit for uniting the international community in opposition to the Iranian nuclear program.
“The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.
“Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.”
Last month, Obama signed into law new sanctions that target foreign entities that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, which the Islamic Republic uses to process payments for its oil exports. And this week, the European Union approved a ban on oil purchases from Iran due to take effect in July.
Obama only briefly mentioned Israel in his address and did not talk about the Palestinians.
“Our iron-clad commitment, and I mean iron clad, to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history,” he said.
Focusing largely on domestic policy in a speech that looks ahead to November’s presidential election, Obama briefly discussed the uprisings that have swept the Arab world in the past year but broke no new ground.
“How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome. And while it is ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews,” Obama said.
Reinforcing Obama’s words on Iran, Israel’s United Nations Ambassador Ron Prosor told the Security Council on Tuesday that the sanctions recently approved by the EU and the United States should be judged by their results.
“Each and every member of the United Nations, and particularly of this Council, should lie awake at night thinking about what would happen if the regime in Iran gets hold of the most dangerous weapon on earth,” Prosor said.
“Only the pressure of a united international community can stop Iran from continuing its march toward nuclear weapons,” he added.