President Barack Obama has signed into force the “toughest sanctions against Iran ever passed by the United States Congress” under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.
The sanctions, imposed in addition to those adopted under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1929, passed last month, will make it “harder for the Iranian government to purchase refined petroleum and the goods, services and materials to modernise Iran’s oil and natural gas sector,” according to a statement by Mr. Obama.
He added the sanctions would further target the Iranian the Revolutionary Guards and banks that supported Iran’s alleged nuclear programme. Mr. Obama noted that in adopting these measures the U.S. was “striking at the heart of the Iranian government’s ability to fund and develop its nuclear programme”.
Reacting to the U.S. sanctions proposal, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “Rest assured that if they wish to sanction Iran in the energy sector, its impact on our country’s economy will be positive but it will negatively impact the talks.”
Touching upon the broader question of nuclear weapons development, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iranians were wise enough to know that nuclear weapons are useless, noting that Iran did take part in the International Conference on Non-Proliferation Treaty and Disarmament in New York in May this year.
He said, “We think those stockpiling nuclear weapons are stupid, because such weapons proved not working. We are concerned about the safety of the American people vis-à-vis the dangers the stockpiles posed to them.” Mr. Ahmadinejad added, “A government which is unable to stop the oil leak on its water [in] the Gulf of Mexico, [how] can it handle… a safety threat [could potentially] occur in the stockpiles of nuclear weapons?”
Speaking to media and others at the signing of the sanctions in the East Room of the White House President Obama said the government of Iran still had a choice. He said, “The door to diplomacy remains open. Iran can prove that its intentions are peaceful. It can meet its obligations under the NPT and achieve the security and prosperity worthy of a great nation.”