For Immediate Release September 25, 2009
JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY and 10 DOWNING ST SPOKESMAN
President Obama and Prime Minister Brown held a meeting this morning on the margins of the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh...They agreed that Iran's nuclear activity was unacceptable, that the international community expected answers on October 1 and was also united in calling upon Iran to live up to its international responsibilities...
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
September 26, 2009
This week, I joined leaders from around the world at the United Nations and the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh. Today, I can report on what we achieved...
...In New York, we advanced the cause of peace and security...We also took unprecedented steps to secure loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to seek a world without them...The United States is meeting our responsibilities by pursuing an agreement with Russia to reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. And just as we meet our responsibilities, so must other nations, including Iran and North Korea.
...This week, we joined with the United Kingdom and France in presenting evidence that Iran has been building a secret nuclear facility to enrich uranium. This is a serious challenge to the global nonproliferation regime, and continues a disturbing pattern of Iranian evasion. That is why international negotiations with Iran scheduled for October 1st now take on added urgency.
My offer of a serious, meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue remains open. But Iran must now cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and take action to demonstrate its peaceful intentions.
On this, the international community is more united than ever before. Yesterday, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our European allies in condemning Iran’s program. In our meetings and public statements, President Medvedev of Russia and I agreed that Iran must pursue a new course or face consequences. All of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany, have made it clear that Iran must fulfill its responsibilities.
Iran’s leaders must now choose – they can live up to their responsibilities and achieve integration with the community of nations. Or they will face increased pressure and isolation, and deny opportunity to their own people.
Iran's Nuclear Program
James Acton, associate in the nonproliferation program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was online Friday, Sept. 25 at Noon ET to discuss Iran's disclosure of a second uranium processing facility. Acton specializes in nonproliferation and disarmament. A physicist by training, Acton's research focuses on the interface of technical and political issues, with special attention to the civilian nuclear industry, IAEA safeguards, and practical solutions to strengthening the nonproliferation regime.
Frederick, Md.: Why did only three of the G-20 leaders make today's statement? Do we have a sense of where the other world leaders are on this subject?...
James Acton: ...They are playing a wait and see game at the moment.
Boston: So does the discovery of this second enrichment facility finally convince Russia and China that Iran's peaceful assurances can not be taken at face value? Will they finally support us on further economic sanctions after the December deadline? Even if Iran allows inspectors into both known sites, how can other countries ever be sure there isn't some other weaponization activity going on elsewhere in the country?
James Acton: I suspect that Medvedev's comment yesterday--that sanctions are required under "special" circumstances--was a reference to this facility and may indicate a willingness to sanction Iran further if talks break down. We'll have to see where China is on this...
Detroit, Mich.: It has been clear for several years from news reports (often not in American papers) that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb despite its statements to the contrary. We keep saying that this is intolerable, threaten sanctions, and Iran keeps on developing. Apparently, Israel is being told by the U.S. to avoid military action, despite the fact that the leader of Iran has multiple times talked about the illegitimacy of Israel and the need for it to no longer exist. There are times in history when negotiations cannot work and military action is needed. Isn't this a time? What gives us the right to tell Israel to avoid military action when its actual existence is threatened by Iran?
James Acton: I agree 100% the Iran case is deeply worrying. I agree that it wants the ability to build a nuclear weapon at short notice, if not a weapon itself.
However, I disagree that the military option is a solution. The problem with the military option is that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon after being attacked (very likely) we are in a much worse position.
Israel says publicly that strong multilateral sanctions are the best solution--and it is right.
But I want to emphasize again that the ball is in the Iranian court. If Iran cooperates fully and proactively with the IAEA and abides the Security Council resolutions, a good outcome is still possible.
Princeton, N.J.: Is there a shred of evidence that Iran has, can now or will soon be able to enrich uranium to the 90+% required for weapons?
James Acton: There is no essential difference between the technology required to enrich to 5% and 90%. Once Iran has mastered the technology to produce low enriched uranium, it can reconfigure the equipment to produce HEU relatively simply. There is some technical debate among experts about how long it would take to do so--but none that it is possible.
So, your opinion about Obama on the Iran issue is, what?
Impotency Quotient Update
Iran is helping to detect uranium deposits inVenezuela and initial evaluations suggest reserves are significant, President Hugo Chavez's government said Friday.
Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said Iran has been assisting Venezuela with geophysical survey flights and geochemical analysis of the deposits, and that evaluations "indicate the existence of uranium in western parts of the country and in Santa Elena de Uairen," in southeastern Bolivar state.
"We could have important reserves of uranium," Sanz told reporters upon arrival on Venezuela's Margarita Island for a weekend Africa-South America summit. He added that efforts to certify the reserves could begin within the next three years.
The announcement came as revelations that Iran has secretly been building a uranium-enrichment plant provoke concerns among countries including the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China.