July 10th, 2009
10:53 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama: G8 warned Iran against nukes

L'AQUILA, Italy (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama argued Friday that the G8 had sent a clear message to Iran: The world will not "wait indefinitely" and allow you to build nuclear weapons.

"The international community has said, 'Here's a door you can walk through that allows you to lessen tensions and more fully join the international community,'" Obama told reporters at a news conference.

"If Iran chooses not to walk through that door, then you have on record the G8 to begin with, but I think potentially a lot of other countries, that are going to say, 'We need to take further steps.'"

CNN Radio: Ed Henry reports from the G-8

Obama - who has promised diplomatic engagement with Tehran - said offering a "door" has always been "our premise."

"But we also say we're not going to just wait indefinitely and allow for the development of the nuclear weapon, the breach of international treaties, and wake up one day and find ourselves in a much worse situation and unable to act. So my hope is that the Iranian leadership will look at the statement coming out of the G8 and recognize that world opinion is clear."

The G8 statement expressed commitment "to finding a diplomatic solution to the issue of Iran's nuclear program" and said Iran "has the right to a civilian nuclear program, but that comes with the responsibility to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities."

"We sincerely hope that Iran will seize this opportunity to give diplomacy a chance to find a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue," the statement said.

Reports said Obama had met with some fellow leaders to push for a threat of potential new sanctions against Iran in the wake of the government's crackdown on protesters following the recent election.

Obama denied that at the news conference, saying, "What we wanted was exactly what we got, which is a statement of unity and strong condemnation about the appalling treatment of peaceful protesters post election In iran as well as some behavior that just violates basic international norms."

The G8 statement said the group "deplores" the violence. "We express our solidarity with those who have suffered repression while peacefully demonstrating and urge Iran to respect fundamental human rights," the statement said.

- CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report.

Filed under: Iran • President Obama
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. phonix86


    A leader that is afraid to take a position on anything is not a leader. Obama left the pro-democracy protestors in Iran on their own. He supports a Honduran president who is trying to violate that country's constitution using Hugo Chaves methods.

    Read beyond the headlines and from multiple sources before you post.

    Weakness has never been reward in international relations in the entire history of man.

    July 10, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. makesUwonder

    WOW, you've got them running now Obama.................not!

    July 10, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Marc

    Good speech, problem is that the Iranian authorities will, most likely, ignore it. So this is a demonstration of Obama's incompetence?
    Quite the contrary.
    True, China and Russia still backs up Iran, and only if you are trigger-happy (with nuclear weapons involved) you would really provoke those undemocratic (don't tell me that Russia is a democracy when journalists are killed for demanding it and nothing is done about the case) countries. So you let clear to them that you are ready to talk with their protegeé, but if their protegeé won't behave you will act.

    July 10, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "Yes, paint the GOP to look entirely partisan here, CNN."

    How exactly is CNN painting the GOP to look partisan by reporting the numerical results of a scientific poll? Get your shovels out folks...it's knee deep in here and the GOPers are still flingin' it.

    July 10, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. WhoCares?


    Because Obama has put the ball in Ahmadinejead's corner...has shown the US and the West will work with them if they reach out and compromise and now Iranians are seeing their own leaders as the issue...NOT THE US!!

    I know alot of you hate Obama...for being Obama...but open your eyes for one second and see what he is acheiving by lowering the tough-guy rhetoric and speaking to the Iranian people.

    He spoke directly to Middle East women about how they should be treated as equals and you are seeing that message spread like wildfire.

    July 10, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. citizenjane

    July 10th, 2009 11:13 am ET

    I'm sure they're shaking in their boots.
    Suggestions anyone on what it is you as president would do to "force" N. Korea and Iran to adhere?

    Seriously. I have read over and over how "weak" Obama is, how "impotent" Obama is, what a "fool" Obama is.

    Yet . . . none of you have penned what exactly it is you want done.

    July 10, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Jeremiah

    Good, keep telling them "no no Iran" and maybe you will get somewhere...idiots.

    July 10, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. WaitandSeeIndie

    Iran will continue, the G-8 nations will talk and BO will demonstrate his "superior" leadership skills while the media swoon. End result – game, set, match – Iran.

    July 10, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. jordan

    The people saying Obama will do nothing are nothing but morons. Obama went to the table with the G8 and they came out with one voice. The only voice that came out with the Bush admin meeting with the G8 was Bush's voice. At least these countries are together and in agreement on this issue. I think you see this come to a head very soon.

    July 10, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Jeremiah

    Obama, you are useless and uneducated and naive. You really think that your pretty speeches will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons? I actually thought you were intelligent. Good luck with those speeches! Sure worked on N. Korea, maybe you will have the same luck with Iran, a country that has made remarks about wiping other nations off the face of the earth and talks about how evil we are. Oh, and John Starnes, your comment was childish and uneducated. There has been no land stolen. Let's be honest, the Israelis have GIVEN UP too much land to people. Get your facts before you make ridiculous comments. Yeah, poor terrorist supporting Palestine. Boo-hoo...they kill innocent civilians and instead of making speeches like our useless president would do, Israel defends itself. HOW EVIL OF THEM!!!

    July 10, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. urge

    why stop with just one urge, the GOP has expressed its urges (mostly out of wedlock) for some time, lets show the world the GOP ideal

    July 10, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. stormerF

    Obama sure does a lot of talking.Where are his specifics on any plan to keep them from developing a nuclear bomb?Where are his specifics on any thing?Other than spending our Tax Dollars.

    July 10, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. John

    The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made it very clear that a military option would have to be an absolute last resort. Read: we may have to go nuclear to win. So exactly what else are you proposing the President do other than build consensus for even tighter sanctions?

    A fundamental difference is that Obama is willing to work with other nations. This is the only way you can actually squeeze Iran. The U.S. can't do this one alone.

    July 10, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Mike in SA

    Wow...another strongly worded communication. If they get enough of these, they can wallpaper the palace halls!

    July 10, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Ryan Indy

    Sorry Barack Iran does not Fear you nor do they Respect you. Your words will fall on deaf ears. People talked alot of smack about GW but boy oh boy do I miss him. Other foreign governments might not particular liked President Bush but they sure did Respect him and if he said he would do something , he had the backbone to follow thru. Obama is a empty suit.

    July 10, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. daunt

    As long as Iran Has an oil reserve it can tell the world where to go.
    No American President has been able to stop Iran's nuclear ambition.
    Oil is King!

    July 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. GG NYC

    Phonix86: I don't think Obama is impotent. Michelle seems pretty darn happy. Do I sense a bit of envy?

    July 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. Doc

    Before we start pointing fingers at other countries for their use or misuse of nuclear material, I think it wise to first review our policy of using DEPLETED URANIUM shells. The usage of this material in warfare should be criminal.

    July 10, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. B.H.

    So, what we we going to do people,bomb them into oblivion if they don’t agree to go along with our views ? Obama talked to the Russians about reducing nukes by a third, and the GOP chided him for trying to move in the right direction..
    Someone has to start the process by example! The other direction is MORE OF THE SAME which we already understand. More threats, more war, and more Billions in the toilet.
    Carl Sagan said that we would probably not rise to the next level of civilization to explore the stars.

    We can’t imagine anything beyond fighting in the dirt, and destroying our own planet.

    July 10, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Wait a minute, hold it, and THINK

    Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.

    Brian Adams

    July 10, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Kevin in Ohio


    Stuffit paints the picture exactly as it was.... YOU are the revisionist.

    July 10, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    @ citizenjane:

    Couple of thoughts on what I'd like to see... but note that I'm not a diplomat.

    North Korea – Only way at them is via China. Tell China, in no uncertain terms, that if they don't do something to rein in the Chia Head in the DPRK, we revoke most favored nation trade status with them.

    Iran – more difficult to say the least. I would do everything in my power to establish a 5th column from within the country and have it collapse on itself.

    And how about you, Jane?

    July 10, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Ted

    This certainly shows the initiative, leadership and resolve of Obama, compared to the other spineless G8 leaders and especially our ex-president Bush.

    this is why Barack Obama was elected and this is why he will be a good president.

    July 10, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Terry from Texas

    Many Conservatives here are ridiculing Obama's speeches expressing concern about Iran's nuclear weapons program. You say that "expressing concern" is laughable, and that Iran will simply ignore us and consider the US to be impotent. Conservatives are the very best Monday morning quarterbacks.

    So, Conservatives, tell us what President McCain or President Romney would do differently?

    Establish economic sanctions against Iran that will be ignored by Russia and China, while punishing ordinary Iranian people?

    Tactical airstrikes against Iran's hardened bunkers deep underground?

    Invade Iran (we're already next door in Iraq, and we're all pretty happy with how the Iraq thing turned out, right)?

    Perhaps the president should moon Ahmedinajad at the UN?

    What Conservatives do not understand is that the real world is complex. It's easy to criticize, but what would you DO?

    July 10, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Tennessee Libertarian

    Impotent, irrelevant, gutless- many adjectives to describe BO

    July 10, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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