World Cannot Contain Challenge of Nuclear-Armed Iran, Obama Says

President Obama says the United States “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon because of the global and regional threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.

“Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” he told the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 25.

“It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the Nonproliferation Treaty,” he said.

The United States respects the right of other countries to access peaceful nuclear power, but “one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace,” he said.

Iran’s government has repeatedly failed to “take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful and to meet its obligations to the United Nations,” the president said.

A coalition of countries is holding Iran’s leaders accountable, Obama said, and the United States “wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so,” but “that time is not unlimited.”

He also said Iran’s government restricts the right of its people, who have “a remarkable and ancient history,” and that many Iranians “wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors.”

SYRIAN REGIME “CRIES OUT FOR PROTEST”

In remarks on Syria, Obama said Iran’s leaders are propping up Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and he said that Syria’s future “must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people.”

“If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings,” he said.

The Assad regime “must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin,” and the international community must remain engaged to help assure that “what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.”

Together, the world needs to stand with Syrians who have a vision of their country that is “united and inclusive” among all of its religious and ethnic communities, and where all “have a say in how they are governed,” Obama said.

“That is what America stands for; that is the outcome that we will work for — with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good. Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and legitimacy to lead,” the president said.

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