In a press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Hawaii on 14th November 2011, President Obama commented on the current situation with Iran. He admitted that the country does not have nuclear weapons and is allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) staff into the country, but refused to rule out military interventions in the Persian nation. Despite this, the US leader still defended the effectiveness of sanctions:
“All our intelligence indicates that Iran’s economy is suffering as a consequence of this. And we’re also seeing that Iran’s influence in the region has ebbed, in part because their approach to repression inside of Iran is contrary to the Arab Spring that has been sweeping the Middle East.
“So we are in a much stronger position now than we were two or three years ago with respect to Iran. Having said that, the recent IAEA report indicates what we already knew, which is, although Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon and is technically still allowing IAEA observers into their country, that they are engaging in a series of practices that are contrary to their international obligations and their IAEA obligations. And that’s what the IAEA report indicated.
“…The sanctions have enormous bite and enormous scope, and we’re building off the platform that has already been established. The question is, are there additional measures that we can take. And we’re going to explore every avenue to see if we can solve this issue diplomatically.
“I have said repeatedly and I will say it today, we are not taking any options off the table, because it’s my firm belief that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose a security threat not only to the region but also to the United States. But our strong preference is to have Iran meet its international obligations, negotiate diplomatically, to allow them to have peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with international law, but at the same time, forswear the weaponization of nuclear power.”
In a recent report from inspectors, Iran was castigated for not allowing more freedom for inspectors and greater transparency in divulging information on its programs. However, no evidence of highly enriched uranium or developed delivery systems were found.