WASHINGTON (June 9, 2010) – President Barack Obama today lauded the U.N. Security Council’s decision to impose new sanctions on Iran for violating its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.
“This resolution will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government, and it sends an unmistakable message about the international community’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons,” Obama said in the Diplomatic Room at the White House.
Obama noted strong international support for the sanctions, supported in a 12-2 vote by nations from the United States, Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America, including Russia and China.
“These sanctions show the united view of the international community that a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is in nobody’s interest, and that nations must be held accountable for challenging the global non-proliferation regime,” he said.
“Today’s sanctions are yet another signal that if the Iranian government continues to undermine the NPT and the peace that it protects, then Iran will find itself more isolated, less prosperous and less secure,” Obama said.
The new sanctions restrict Iran’s nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and, for the first time, its conventional military, the president noted. They also will put a new framework in place to stop Iranian smuggling and to crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions.
Obama emphasized international resolution to ensuring the sanctions are “vigorously enforced.”
“Yet this day was not inevitable,” the president said, emphasizing his administration’s efforts to use diplomatic channels and engagement to address Tehran’s “deeply troubling” activities.
“We offered the opportunity of a better relationship between Iran and the international community – one that reduced Iran’s political isolation, and increased its economic integration with the rest of the world,” he said. “In short, we offered the Iranian government the prospect of a better future for its people, if – and only if – it lives up to its international obligations.”
Obama emphasized Iran’s right to access peaceful nuclear energy. “But with those rights come responsibilities,” he said. “And time and again, the Iranian government has failed to meet those responsibilities.”
The president expressed hope that Iran will change course and live up to its NPT obligations.
“These sanctions do not close the door on diplomacy. Iran continues to have the opportunity to take a different and better path,” Obama said. “I would like nothing more than to reach the day when the Iranian government fulfills its international obligations – a day when these sanctions are lifted, previous sanctions are lifted, and the Iranian people can finally fulfill the greatness of the Iranian nation.”