Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Obama pushes for diplomacy on Iran's nuclear program


President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani both openly stated their support for a new diplomatic effort regarding Iran's nuclear program. Obama, addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, stated that there was "basis for a meaningful agreement." In recent weeks, Rouhani, who was elected in June, has suggested that he is open to developing a program in which Iran is allowed to further their nuclear energy program but prevents them from building a weapon, claiming that a nuclear weapon program would "contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions."

Obama said that Secretary of State John Kerry was working with the Iranian government to resolve the negotiations about Iran's nuclear program. In his statement to the UN General Assembly, he stated that success in the negotiations would be a "major step in a long road to a difficult relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect," adding that "the roadblocks may prove too great but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested."

Obama has suggested in the past that if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, the United States would not be afraid to take military action against Iran. Rouhani spoke with fervor about several components of American policy as well, stating his frustration with previous sanctions on the Iranian economy and the use of drones to kill alleged terrorists.

Nonetheless, the push for diplomacy on the issue marks significant progress for both the US and Iran. Speculation has begun that Obama and Rouhani will be able to the resolve the issue quicker than expected, despite the tense relationship between the two countries. The resolution to this issue would be a major step in the direction of diffusing the tension and repairing the relationship.

-Abhishek Parekh

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