Obama: 95 percent of Iran sanctions will remain in place during Tehran nuclear talks
U.S. President Barack Obama says the partial removal of anti-Iran sanctions in light of the Geneva deal is not leading businesses to rush back to Iran.
Saying 95 percent of the sanctions will remain in place during the course of negotiations with Tehran, Obama told Bloomberg on Monday: "We’re going to enforce them, and we’ve been enforcing them during the course of these discussions."
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia, China, France, Britain and the U.S. - plus Germany inked an interim deal on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013. The deal took effect on January 20.
Iran and the Sextet wrapped up their latest round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna on February 20 and are set to meet again in the Austrian city on March 17 to continue their talks.
Commenting on his repeated threat that “all options are on the table” regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program, the U.S. president said “I know they take it seriously.”
“We have a high degree of confidence that when they (Iranians) look at 35,000 U.S. military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously,” Obama said.
On January 9, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the nuclear talks between Iran and the P+1 group powers laid bare the US government’s enmity toward the Islamic Republic.
Ayatollah Khamenei rejected the idea that Iran was forced to enter into negotiations under the pressure of sanctions, saying “We have announced previously as well that the Islamic Republic will, on the certain issues that it deems expedient, negotiate with this Satan in order to ward off its evil and resolve the issue.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said on February 19 that the country has not opted for negotiations as a result of sanctions, stressing that those who have forcefully imposed sanctions on the country have gained nothing.
The Iranian foreign minister said, the language of force has no place in foreign policy agendas, adding that any state using the “all-options-on-the-table” rhetoric is actually taking outdated measures.