Obama warns Iran must be stopped

Tells 'NY Times' "current course" would give Teheran nuclear capabilities.

A nuclear power plant (illustrative). (photo credit: AP)
A nuclear power plant (illustrative).
(photo credit: AP)
US President Barack Obama warned Monday that as things stand at the moment, Iran would attain nuclear weapons capabilities.
"We know that they have pursued nuclear weapons in the past, and that the current course they’re on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities," he told The New York Times. "You combine those facts, and the message that we are sending is that this behavior is unacceptable. It is outside of the rules of the road that the international community has observed. They have an opportunity to correct these — what I consider to be a misguided approach."
Obama vowed to continue working to prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear arms.
"I’ve said publicly that we don’t begrudge any country obtaining nuclear energy for peaceful civilian purposes. But Iran has not considered itself bound in many ways by the basic precepts of the NPT, or has violated them on several occasions," he said. "And so we are going to continue to try to isolate any countries that are operating outside of that approach.”
On March 28, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton warned of the White House moving towards acceptance of a nuclearly capable Iran. “I very much worry the Obama administration is willing to accept a nuclear Iran, that's why there's this extraordinary pressure on Israel not to attack in Iran,” Bolton told Army Radio.
On Saturday night, inresponse to an announcement by Iran’s nuclear chief of plans to buildnew atomic facilities in the country, and President MahmoudAhmadinejad’s newest warning regarding Israel’s demise, a seniorIsraeli government official called for “determined and effective internationalaction.”
“Ahmadinejad’s continuous outbursts of extremistrhetoric only prove to the entire international community theseriousness of the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s pursuit ofnuclear weapons, and heightens the need for determined and effectiveinternational action,” the official said.
Ahmadinejad, referring on Saturday to escalating tensions in the Gaza Strip, said IDF action would “cost” Israel “too much.”
“Isay to the Zionists and their supporters that they have alreadycommitted enough crimes,” he told an Iranian crowd. “A new adventure inGaza will not save you, but hasten your demise.”
Faced with the prospect of new sanctions because ofIran’s nuclear defiance, Ahmadinejad said that such penalties wouldonly strengthen his country’s technological advancement and help it tobecome more self-sufficient.
“Don’t imagine thatyou can stop Iran’s progress,” Ahmadinejad said in remarks broadcastlive on state television. “The more you reveal your animosity, the moreit will increase our people’s motivation to double efforts forconstruction and progress of Iran.”
The Iranianpresident claimed US pressure on Iran had backfired and made Washingtonmore isolated in the eyes of the world.
China,which has veto power in the UN Security Council and whose support wouldbe key, has not confirmed US reports that it has dropped its oppositionto new sanctions. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, is inChina in the hopes of winning assurances from Beijing that it willoppose such measures.
Iran’s economy hassuffered over the past year, and parliament approved a cut in subsidiesthat keep fuel prices low, a further blow to Iranians alreadyexperiencing high unemployment and inflation.
The UN Security Council could consider new punishments on Iran,including increasing financial squeezes on the extensive holdings ofIran’s Revolutionary Guard. The US has also said it could seek topenalize companies that sell fuel to the oil-rich Islamic Republic,which imports about 40 percent of the fuel it needs because itsrefineries cannot keep pace.
Ahmadinejad addedthat the US has failed to isolate Iran. He said the fact that Obama’srecent visit to Afghanistan was not announced beforehand for securityreasons was evidence of America’s own isolation.
“First, let’ssee who is isolated. We think those who can’t show up publicly amongthe people and directly address them are isolated – those who fearnations. Gentlemen go to a country where they have 60,000 troopswithout any prior announcement. Who is isolated?” Ahmadinejadsaid. The Iranian president noted that his ownrecent trip to Afghanistan was announced in advance and said he waswarmly received. “You are isolated yourself,but you are a hotheaded and don’t understand it,” he said.