In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said that “America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” and that, as long as Iran’s leaders shirk their international nuclear obligations, pressure on Iran “will not relent:”
“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.”
Jake Sullivan, State Department Director of Policy Planning, said the United States wants to see Iran with a future “as bright and as potent as the history of its great, ancient civilization,” and the steps Iranian authorities need to take to secure such a future are “straightforward”:
“We are looking for them to abandon any effort to pursue a nuclear weapons program, to show the international community that they are committed to only a peaceful nuclear program. We are looking to them to cease destabilizing activities in the region, including the sponsorship of terror; and we are looking for them to uphold their broad range of international obligations, including treating their own citizens with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”
Iranian authorities have it within their power to take these steps, said Mr. Sullivan. And they should do so, “not for us, but for their own people.”
In recent days, the Iranian regime has indicated it is interested in talking about its nuclear program and other issues. The United States and its partners in the P5+1 group – China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany –- are prepared to sit down and negotiate, if Iran is serious and prepared to talk in a constructive way, said Policy Planning Director Sullivan.
But if the Iranian government continues to defy its international obligations, he said, the U.S. and its partners “will continue to impose pressure [and] will continue Iran’s diplomatic isolation. ... The choice is really Iran’s to make.”