Briefing Bites: G-20, Iranian nuclear edition
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) and US President Barack Obama prior to the start of a round-table meeting on November 3, 2011 during the G20 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Cannes.
November 3rd, 2011
05:36 PM ET

Briefing Bites: G-20, Iranian nuclear edition

Today’s G-20-themed briefing came in from Cannes, France and was brought to you by Press Secretary Jay Carney with special guests Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman.

Much of the briefing was spent explaining that President Obama will be focusing throughout the G-20 meetings on the global economic climate and the European economic crisis more specifically. The big question on Americans' minds is how a possible economic default in Greece might spread to other European countries and how much it might impact the U.S. recovery. Here's what the deputies had to say:

Q    Answer this question as it relates to Greece, since that’s the country that’s in crisis right now, and if they go, are you worried about the contagion effect?

MR. FROMAN:  I think right now the highest priority in Greece is stabilizing the situation.  But the program that Greece has is also about reforming its system and engaging in structural reforms so that it could become more competitive and therefore grow as part of the euro area.

MR. RHODES:  I just want to make one very quick point, which is that you’ve seen at these other G-20s often this discussion of growth and fiscal consolidation.  I think what’s represented at this G-20 is a broad understanding that you need both; that there are going to have to be steps to promote growth and job creation in the global economy, and there’s going to have be, again, that kind of deficit reduction over the medium and long-term that many of the leaders have worked on.

And similarly, in the United States, President Obama is pursuing an approach where we have an immediate growth package represented in the jobs act, and the other steps that we’re taking to promote growth and job creation at home.  And we have a plan for significant deficit reduction in the medium and long-term as well.

On other matters, the two deputies were asked about the impending International Atomic Energy Agency report on the Iranian nuclear program and the significance of the president’s comments on it during this morning’s bilateral meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Here’s what the president said:

We had the opportunity to also talk about a range of security issues. One in particular that I want to mention is the continuing threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.  The IAEA is scheduled to release a report on Iran's nuclear program next week and President Sarkozy and I agreed on the need to maintain the unprecedented international pressure on Iran to meet its obligations.

And here’s what the deputies had to say:

MR. RHODES:  Well, I mean, I’d separate it from any type of speculation or hypothetical situation as it relates to military action.  I think what the President was underscoring is there’s been an ongoing concern in the international community about Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran, over many years, has been unable to demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear program.  It’s precisely for that reason that the United States and France have really taken the lead in applying very aggressive pressure on the Iranian government - by passing a U.N. Security Council resolution that put in place the toughest sanctions regime to date, by working to build out on those sanction through our own individual actions as nations, and again, by isolating Iran economically and diplomatically in the world.

That said, what we expect and what the President was referring to is another report on the Iranian nuclear program from the IAEA next week, which will, again, speak once more to whether or not Iran is meeting its international obligations.  And that will be another important point for the international community to assess whether or not Iran is meeting those obligations.  We, of course, don't believe that they are, so we'll have to be continuing to build out the pressure on the Iranian government going forward from there.

Q Iran is already thumbing its nose at the requirement next week, so how do you think it's going to play out?

MR. RHODES: Well, I wouldn't put a lot of credibility into the Iranian government's statements on these matters because they have not been able to prove with their actions the peaceful intent of their nuclear program. So how this has played out in the past is Iran has not been able to build the confidence not just of the United States but of IAEA and of the international community that their program is peaceful.

They're the only treaty member of the NPT that cannot convince the International Atomic Energy Agency that their program is peaceful. And that's precisely why they're facing the type of international pressure that they're facing. That's why the sanctions that they're under for the first time have slowed the Iranian economy to a halt, again, for the first time in decades. And that's why we're going to have to continue to be ratcheting up that pressure on the Iranian government as long as they can't meet those obligations.

Topics: Briefing Bites • G-20

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Don WV

    Other reports say we are already to attack Iran. Who will be next, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba? How many more young Americans have to die before we can get our government to stop? Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and Libya had a evil dictator so we hunted him down and executed him! So when will the American people say we have had enough! Our country is in shambles, and riots on the streets! And to top it off we have media that tells us who to vote for! Is this what America stands for? War, and killing of innocent people? I am one American that admit he has become ashamed of his country, or at the least ashamed of its governments actions! I may not agree 100 percent with Ron Paul, and I know his chances of getting elected are slim, because he is not the chosen one! He is not the ones the big corporations want! People have to understand that media corporations are the big corporations which choose who they want in office by manipulating what er here and read, so they are also the ones who choose the chosen ones!

    Ron Paul 2012!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • jean2009

      Plan a simple everyone knows Ron Paul would be a disaster for this country and its less fortunate citizens.

      No to Paul.

      But you do make a point, we need to find ways other than war if we are to help citizens (in particular women) of countries that are still living in the dark ages. Not everything should be addressed with the force of our Military Industrial Complex.
      I mind add Ron Paul would be also be against any form of foreign aid.
      The only one he is interested in is preserving are the greedy rich...including himself.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • That Guy

        Simple minded fool. Giving free care to women giving birth because he did not want to participate in any federal aide is far from greedy. Furthermore less fortunate citizens are just that less fortunate. They are not oppressed! We have come to a domestic situation where the larger corporations have monopilized most profitable sectors of the market by paying poloticians to destroy anti-trust laws and then regulating industries in such a way that only the largest companies can stay in buisness. (who talks about that?) And thoughout history sanctions have not only been a precursor to war but has caused many escalations. They want Iran to revolt so they sanction the country and impoversh the people to fuel a revolt. STAY OUT OF OTHER COUNTRIES DOMESTIC AFFAIRS! not just because we cant afford it and will go down like russia but because it is only fair because we know our govt does not make calls based on whats best for its people but what is best for buisness! If France backed the south in the civil war and the north was defeted would you still believe that super powers have the athority to choose a side in a internal conflict.

        November 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ ThatGuy: I did not see you protesting when George W. Bush spent $950 Million on universal health care for the Iraqi people. What does this have to do with pregnant women? Women in general are mistreated and oppressed in these cultures.

        Foreign aid, diplomacy and education would go much further....

        In any case.
        No To Ron Paul.

        November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Me

      War with Iran will never happen. We're more likely to go to war with China, and if we were to attack Iran before having that war with China, we would be very foolish and assure our doom.

      November 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Aki

      It used to be in style to stay at home while there were wars outside of our nation. Our troops could be staying at home while they read newspapers telling of some war in the Middle East or Europe. We need defenses at home, anti-air missile, anti-nuke missiles, troops. That kind of defense would encourage me to go in the army because it would be more certain that any wars we do would be in self defense. I do not trust the foreign policy we have, and may not for decades.

      November 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Howard

      Obama has become such an arrogant demagogue, he doesn't even try to give the appearance of propriety anymore. He just blatantly disregards the law ... and encourages his supporters to disregard the law. And, with the lamestream media excusing his corruption ... and, his brain dead stooges/followers rubber stamping his every move ... obama's obscene actions show that he now believes he can get away with anything !!!

      November 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  2. shahin

    This is the Iraqi WMD case all over again, and these idiots are falling for it...again. Pathetic really.
    Instead of finding reasons to attack Iran and obliterate its infrastructure like you did to Iraq, find reasons to help its people that's suffering under the islamic dictatorship you warmongering pigs!!!!!

    November 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • steveo

      So let me see if I got this right, ONLY the U..S can help? Only us "war mongering pigs? I see no Islamic nations stepping up to help. Do you? I only see see NATO and a whole lot of western "war mongering"! What does that tell you?

      November 4, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • jean2009

        @ Steveo... Are you sure you want to claim you thought that through? Actually it seems Shahin is in agreement with you. The only difference being Shahin thinks a lot more could be done with reasoning , diplomacy and aid....without the war-mongering.

        May I ask, why would anyone expect countries whose citizens are being oppressed, by the same element, to step up to aid and help neighboring countries which have the same problems? Name one middle-east Islamic country that is not currently facing some of the same problems.

        Is it that you think Iran having nuclear capability is a good thing...I don't.

        November 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
      • Steveo


        Wow! How did this dissolve into Iran having nukes? I take offensive at the "help us you war mongering pigs" statement and nothing more! Oh yeah Jean, I though that through. You object to me objecting to being asked for help on one hand and then then being called a war mongering pig on the other?

        November 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Simon

    Why in the world a country with more than 8,500 nuclear weapons is afraid of a country to make 1 nuke and attach a country with 200+ nukes? It has been 4 years that their centrifuges were working in full capacity to make 100kg of 20% enriched uranium for their medical reactor, how they are going to enrich enough uranium for a bomb.

    November 5, 2011 at 1:27 am |
  4. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Go to bed Howard! OBAMA will not be kissing your a** OK? You're one of the 'braindead' simpletons!..Lay down and go to sleep. Geeez!

    November 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm |