Speaking at the conclusion of the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, President Barack Obama pointed to the nuclear deal agreed to by Iran, the European Union, and the P5+1 countries -- the JCPOA -- as one of the top accomplishments in his administration’s drive to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.
Regarding the JCPOA, Mr. Obama said his first priority had been to make sure that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was stopped, and that material that would have given Iran a very short breakout capacity was shipped out of the country. “That has happened,” he said.
President Obama noted that, so far, Iran’s leaders have lived up to JCPOA to the letter:
“They have, in fact, based on the presentations that were made by the IAEA this morning to the P5+1…followed the implementation steps that were laid out. And as a consequence, sanctions related to their nuclear program have been brought down.”
Mr. Obama said that Iran does face a challenge in getting businesses to feel comfortable that the JCPOA is holding, and that there are no longer risks due to nuclear sanctions if companies do business with Iran. President Obama pledged to address some of the concerns Iran has expressed over this issue.
But President Obama cautioned that the “spirit of the [JCPOA] involves Iran also sending signals to the world community and businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative actions that might scare business off:”
“When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel that makes businesses nervous…If Iran continues to ship missiles to Hezbollah, that gets businesses nervous.”
President Obama said that the United States has a “responsibility to provide clarity about the rules that govern, so that…the Iranian people can benefit from an improved economic situation.” But, Mr. Obama stressed, “Iran has to understand what every country in the world understands, which is businesses want to go where they feel safe, where they don’t see massive controversy, where they can be confident that transactions are going to operate normally.”