Obama administration denies report of one-on-one nuclear talks with Iran
The White House has denied media reports over the weekend that Iran has agreed to hold one-on-one talks on its nuclear program after the November general election.
“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. “We continue to work with the P5+1 on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally. The President has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that.”
The P5+1 group, referenced by Vietor, was formed in 2006 by the 5 members of the United Nations Security Council – United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China – and Germany to find a diplomatic solution to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The White House denial was issued after the New York Times published a report, citing anonymous Obama administration officials, claiming that “the United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program…setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.”
President Barack Obama has been under immense political pressure to take pre-emptive military actions against Iran.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told United Nations General Assembly that Iran is manipulating diplomatic negotiations “as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program.” Stopping short of declaring war on Iran, Netanyahu suggested that a pre-emptive military strike against Iran is imminent, perhaps as soon as next spring or summer (around the same time Israel is expected to hold elections).
On the campaign, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has eagerly supported Netanyahu’s call for pre-emptive military actions against Iran.
“I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability,” Romney said in his foreign policy address at the Virginia Military Institute two weeks ago. “For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.”
Currently, the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and several other countries have imposed tough economic sanctions against Iran to force Tehran to comply with U.N. resolutions to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. The sanctions appeared to have seriously damaged Iran’s economy as the country’s currency (the rial) collapsed earlier this month.
Statement by National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor on Iran
“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections. We continue to work with the P5+1* on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally. The President has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that. It has always been our goal for sanctions to pressure Iran to come in line with its obligations. The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure.”
- WhiteHouse.gov: Statement by NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor on Iran
- NYTimes.com: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks
- AlJazeera.com: Iran imposes currency cap to boost rial
- WhatTheFolly.com: Romney criticizes Obama’s handling of Middle East crises
- WhatTheFolly.com: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on Iran’s nuclear program
- WhatTheFolly.com: Obama warns Iran that time for diplomacy is running out
- WhatTheFolly.com: Iranian-American pleads guilty to Saudi Ambassador murder plot