In a recent address in Washington D.C., U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones called the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them one of the "defining challenges" of our time.
Despite repeated overtures by President Barack Obama, the Iranian government over the past year, said General Jones, has given "no indication" that it wants to resolve contentious issues constructively: "After initially accepting it, they rejected the Tehran Research Reactor proposal. They have refused since to discuss their nuclear program with the P5+ 1.
"The revelation of a previously covert enrichment site, construction of which further violated Iran's NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] obligations, fed further suspicion about Iran's intentions. Iran recently increased the enrichment levels of its uranium to 20 percent. All the while, Iran continues to brutally repress its own citizens and prohibit their universal rights to express themselves freely and to choose their own future.
"These are not the behaviors of a responsible international actor and they are not the actions of a government committed to peaceful diplomacy and a new relationship with a willing and ready partner," said General Jones: "Indeed Iran's continued defiance of its international obligations on its nuclear program and its support of terrorism represents a significant regional and global threat.
A nuclear-armed Iran could transform the landscape of the Middle East, precipitating a nuclear arms race, dramatically increasing the prospect and danger of local conflicts, fatally wounding the global non-proliferation regime and emboldening the terrorists and extremists who threaten the United States and her allies."
That is why, he said, the United States and its allies are working actively to increase the costs of Iran's continued failure to live up to its international obligations, including a new U.N. Security Council resolution, that would impose additional sanctions on Iran. "Iran's government must face real consequences for its continued defiance of the international community," said National Security Advisor Jones.
"We hope that Iran will make the right choice and act to restore the confidence of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program. However," said General Jones, "President Obama has been very clear. . . .the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons."