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February 28, 2013

President Obama: Stopping Iran

Listed in: Israel, Other Foreign Policy, Fact Sheets

President Barack Obama has made stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program a cornerstone of his foreign policy. The facts of Obama’s work to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, with citations, follow below and can be downloaded as a pdf here.

“I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”
[Obama, March 4, 2012]

A nuclear-armed Iran is a “red line” for the Obama Administration that will not be crossed.

* The President and other Administration officials have been clear: all options remain on the table for stopping Iran.

* The Obama Administration and Israel have worked closely to address the Iranian threat.

The President’s multifaceted approach to Iran has been crucial to forging a global consensus against a nuclear-armed Iran.

Obama spearheaded the global effort to impose the harshest sanctions Iran has ever faced:

* After successfully pushing the United Nations Security Council to adopt stricter sanctions, Obama signed the first round of American sanctions into law on July 1, 2010.

* The  European Union, Canada, Australia, and other industrialized countries followed suit within weeks.

* On January 3, 2013, Obama signed the toughest-ever sanctions imposed on Iran.

*2/6/12: Obama signed an executive order that cut off Iran’s central bank from the global economy.

*12/31/11: Obama signed more sanctions into law targeted toward Iran’s central bank.

*11/22/11: The U.S., U.K., and Canada blacklisted the central bank of Iran as an institution of “primary money laundering”—a move that hinders the bank’s ability to work outside of Iran.

*The Obama Administration sanctions companies that trade with Iran or act as Iranian fronts, as they did on 2/6/13, 10/10/12, 7/31/12, 1/23/12, 10/27/11, 6/23/11, 3/29/11, 12/22/10, 11/30/10, and 8/3/10.

*Obama Administration officials have been working to gain Russian and Chinese support for sanctions. According to national security advisor Tom Donilon, Russia, China, and the U.S. share “a similar goal, and that is to not seeing the Iranians move toward the development of nuclear weapons.”

The sanctions have prevented Iran from accessing the technology it needs for its nuclear program.

The sanctions have isolated Iran and taken a serious toll on its economy:

*Oil companies have pulled out of Iran, causing a 40% decline in exports and sales;

*Iran’s economy is no longer stable and the value of its currency has plummeted by 50%; and

*Iran Air—its flagship airline—faces serious difficulties flying and refueling outside of Iran.


Israeli Leaders on Obama and Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“President Obama has reiterated his commitment to prevent that from happening.  He stated clearly that all options are on the table, and that American policy is not containment. Well, Israel has exactly the same policy—we are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; we leave all options on the table; and containment is definitely not an option.” [March 5, 2012]

“For the first time, I see Iran wobble under the sanctions that have been adopted and especially under the threat of strong sanctions on their central bank.” [January 13, 2012]

“I very much appreciate the President’s statement that he is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons…. That has been translated by the President through his leadership at the Security Council, which passed sanctions against Iran; by the U.S. bill that the President signed just a few days ago. And I urge other leaders to follow the President’s lead.” [July 6, 2010]

President Shimon Peres:

“The United States and Israel share the same goal—to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. There is no space between us.” [March 4, 2012]

”[Peres] was also appreciative of the anti-terror efforts of US President Barack Obama and said that the president’s achievements in this respect were impressive, especially because he had succeeded in the difficult task of forming a coalition against terrorism that had imposed effective economic sanctions against Iran.” [JTA, January 4, 2011]

Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak:

“As President Obama and other world leaders repeatedly state—‘Iran must be prevented from gaining nuclear weapons.’ Your President understood and insisted on this issue from day one.  America, Israel and world leaders have to stand determined and united in order to face this threat, and not to remove any option off the table.” [December 15, 2011]

Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren:

“Our policy and the U.S.‘s is that all options are on the table—and we remain committed to that policy.” [September 28, 2011]

Former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi:

”[A]s far as the sanctions, I think we fully support the current path and also the assessment whether they are effective or not… it’s a serious effort, and we appreciate the American leading in putting it in place and to continue with this pressure.” [November 18, 2010]

Israeli Embassy spokesman Mark Regev:

”[Obama] has been successful in galvanizing an international coalition that many people were cynical about. We are on the same page.” [January 1, 2010]