• Thursday 16th July 2020

Barack Obama Warns Iran That Us Is Still Prepared To Take Military Action, Julian Borger

US president warns action against Iranian nuclear programme

Barack Obama warns Iran that US is still prepared to take military action

Julian Borger

Barack Obama on Sunday sought to shore up the potency of American deterrence in the Middle East, warning Iran that he was still prepared to take military action against the Iranian nuclear programme, which the president described as “much closer to our core interests” than Syria’s chemical weapons.

But at the same time, Obama presented the Geneva deal on Syria as an opportunity to bolster diplomacy with Tehran a week ahead of the first official visit to the US by the newly-elected Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. Obama made a point of inviting Iranian involvement in international talks about a broader settlement to the Syrian conflict, something Washington had previously resisted.

Speaking on ABC News television, Obama revealed that he had exchanged letters on the Syrian crisis with Rouhani, a moderate elected in June, and raised the prospect of Iran participation in global diplomacy on Syria if Tehran recognised “that what’s happening there is a train wreck that hurts not just Syrians but destabilising the entire region”.

He said the Geneva deal could pave the way for talks involving Russia and Iran aimed at “some sort of political settlement that would − deal with the underlying terrible conflict.”

Rouhani is due to attend the United Nations general assembly next week, but it is not yet clear whether he will meet the US president there.

Britain’s foreign office said on Sunday that the foreign secretary, William Hague, would meet his Iranian counterpart in New York, in what it called “a positive step” toward restoring full diplomatic ties between the two countries.

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