President Obama said in Washington today that by not pursuing nuclear weapons, Iran will take its rightful place in the community of nations.
“Iran is a country of extraordinary history and extraordinary potential… We want them to be a full-fledged member of the international community and be in a position to provide opportunities and prosperity for their people. But ... the way to achieve those goals is not through the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”
Referring to his diplomatic overtures toward Tehran, Obama warned the Islamic Republic against using talks as an excuse to proceed with the development and deployment of nuclear weapons, and effectively put an end-of-the-year deadline for resolving the nuclear issues.
“We're not going to create a situation in which talks become an excuse for inaction, while Iran proceeds with developing and deploying a nuclear weapon,” the president said. “My expectation would be that if we can begin discussions soon, shortly after the Iranian elections [in June], we should have a fairly good sense by the end of the year as to whether they are moving in the right direction and whether the parties involved are making progress and that there's a good faith effort to resolve differences.”
“I firmly believe it is in Iran’s interest not to develop nuclear weapons, because it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and be profoundly destabilizing in all sorts of ways,” said President Obama.
“Iran can achieve its interests of security and international respect and prosperity for its people through other means, and I am prepared to make what I believe will be a persuasive argument, that there should be a different course taken.”