News Column

Iran: Obama to Push Diplomacy

Nov 14, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized Wednesday that the U.S. would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, but said he intended to give an even stronger push for a diplomatic solution.

Speaking at his first press conference since being re-elected last week, Obama declined to discuss the details of negotiations, saying reports of imminent talks were "not true ... as of today."

"But I think it's fair to say that we want to get this resolved and we're not going to 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," he said.

Obama said there "should" be a way for Iran to both use peaceful nuclear energy and reassure the international community that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon.

The US president drew a clear red line against the weaponization that Iran appears to be planning.

"I was very clear before the campaign, I was clear during the campaign and I'm now clear after the campaign - we're not going to let Iran get a nuclear weapon," Obama said.

He said there was still a window of diplomatic opportunity, given that Iran is suffering under the "toughest sanctions in history."

"I can't promise that Iran will walk through the door that they need to walk though, but that would be very much the preferable option," Obama said.

After Obama's re-election, the reactions in Tehran were reserved, but not negative. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mouthpiece, the IRNA news agency, said that the country hoped that a second term would bring "positive effects and developments."

The rial, the Iranian currency, has lost a third of its worth since the beginning of the year. Official figures cite an inflation rate under 30 percent, but in reality it's over 50 percent.

Flights within the country are 70 per cent more expensive. The government forbade the import of "luxury goods" like coffee, soap, shampoo and toilet paper, in order to protect the currency.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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