United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Obama to Push for Dialogue with Iran

            On November 14, President Barack Obama announced that he will push to start a dialogue between Iran and the international community in the coming months. “There should be a way in which they [the Iranians] can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations,” he said at a White House news conference. The following are his comments on Iran.

OBAMA:…With respect to Iran, I -- I very much want to see a diplomatic resolution to the problem. I was very clear before the campaign, I was clear during the campaign, and I’m now clear after the campaign, we’re not gonna let Iran get a nuclear weapon. But I think there is still a window of time for us it resolve this diplomatically. We’ve imposed the toughest sanctions in history. It is having an impact on Iran’s economy. There should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapon.
 
And so, yes, I -- I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between Iran and not just us, but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved.
 
I can’t promise that Iran will walk through the door that they need to walk through, but that would be very much the preferable option.
 
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)
 
OBAMA: I won’t talk about the details and negotiations, but I think it’s fair to say that we want to get this resolved and we’re not gonna be constrained by diplomatic niceties or protocols. If Iran is serious about wanting to resolve this, they’ll be in a position to resolve it.
 
QUESTION: At one point, just prior to the election, there was talk that talks might be imminent...
 
(CROSSTALK)
 
OBAMA: That was not true and it’s not -- it’s not true as of today. OK.
 

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