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WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — U.S. President Barack Obama on late Saturday evening delivered the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, after the United States and other world powers reached a historic breakthrough agreement with Iran on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
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Today, the United States – together with our close allies and partners – took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.
Since I took office, I have made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I have said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we have extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my Administration worked with Congress, the U.N. Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.
These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy – bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5+1 partners: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.
Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure – a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.
While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment, and neutralizing part of its stockpile. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges—which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.
These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.
On our side, the United States and our friends and allies have agreed to provide Iran modest relief, while continuing to apply our toughest sanctions. We will refrain from imposing new sanctions, and we will allow the Iranian government access to a portion of the revenue that they have been denied through sanctions. But the broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously. And if Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six month phase, we will turn off the relief, and ratchet up the pressure.
Over the next six months, we will work to negotiate a comprehensive solution. We approach these negotiations with a basic understanding: Iran, like any nation, should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy. But because of its record of violating its obligations, Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon.
In these negotiations, nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to. The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be for exclusively peaceful purposes. If Iran seizes this opportunity, the Iranian people will benefit from rejoining the international community, and we can begin to chip away at the mistrust between our two nations. This would provide Iran with a dignified path to forge a new beginning with the wider world based on mutual respect. But if Iran refuses, it will face growing pressure and isolation.
Over the last few years, Congress has been a key partner in imposing sanctions on the Iranian government, and that bipartisan effort made possible the progress that was achieved today. Going forward, we will continue to work closely with Congress. However, now is not the time to move forward on new sanctions – doing so would derail this promising first step, alienate us from our allies, and risk unraveling the coalition that enabled our sanctions to be enforced in the first place.
That international unity is on display today. The world is united in support of our determination to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran must know that security and prosperity will never come through the pursuit of nuclear weapons – it must be reached through fully verifiable agreements that make Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons impossible.
As we go forward, the resolve of the United States will remain firm, as will our commitment to our friends and allies – particularly Israel and our Gulf partners, who have good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions.
Ultimately, only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution to the challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear program. As President and Commander in Chief, I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. However, I have a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully, rather than rush towards conflict. Today, we have a real opportunity to achieve a comprehensive, peaceful settlement, and I believe we must test it.
The first step that we have taken today marks the most significant and tangible progress that we have made with Iran since I took office. Now, we must use the months ahead to pursue a lasting and comprehensive settlement that would resolve an issue that has threatened our security – and the security of our allies – for decades. It won’t be easy. Huge challenges remain ahead. But through strong and principled diplomacy, the United States of America will do our part on behalf of a world of greater peace, security, and cooperation among nations.
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(Copyright 2013 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: email@example.com.)
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DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — North Carolina Central University (NCCU) on Thursday afternoon issued a lockdown for its facilities, warning that a “possible” active shooter was on campus, officials said. It was not immediately clear if shots had …
MEDFORD, OREGON (BNO NEWS) — An improvised explosive device (IED) damaged a prosecutor’s building in the U.S. state of Oregon on early Wednesday morning, causing no casualties but prompting an investigation by federal authorities into what was described as a “possible act of terrorism.”
The incident happened at approximately 4:38 a.m. local time when witnesses in the city of Medford reported hearing an explosion outside a single-story building that houses the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Responding officers and firefighters found a propane tank on fire, sending flames up the outside of the building.
The blaze went out on its own but caused damage to the brick building, including broken windows and other exterior damage in addition to interior damage. Responding officers cordoned off the Jackson County Justice campus as it was searched for possible secondary devices, but none were found.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said initial reports indicate someone placed the propane tank next to the entrance of the Jackson County Attorney’s Office and attempted to detonate it, but the tank only partially detonated. “The FBI is investigating this as a possible act of terrorism,” she said. “That determination has not yet been made.”
Greg Fowler, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, said investigators are “fully committed” to finding the person or people responsible for Wednesday’s bombing. “The explosive device was clearly intended to target a government facility, the DA’s office,” he said. “An attack on such a visible symbol of government and justice demands our singular focus.”
It was not immediately clear whether the bomb was supposed to detonate at 4:38 a.m. or went off prematurely. Law enforcement sources told NBC News that investigators were seeking to determine whether the bombing was linked to two previous incidents involving IEDs in nearby Coos Bay. Those incidents happened in August and September at a Vietnam War Memorial and a local church, but neither device detonated.
Steele said the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were investigating Wednesday’s blast in partnership with the Medford Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police (OSP).
(Copyright 2013 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
MIAMI, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) — A U.S. man who hijacked a commercial airliner in the 1980s and forced it to fly to Cuba returned to the United States on Wednesday to face justice, although he hopes for leniency after spending 15 years in a Cuban prison fo…
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (BNO NEWS) — The man accused of opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport this week was charged on Saturday with one count of murder in the death of a federal security officer, prosecutors said, detailing the chilling c…