News / Middle East

Obama: Iran Must be Held Accountable

U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (not in photo) hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, October 13, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (not in photo) hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, October 13, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

President Barack Obama says Iran's government must be held accountable for what he calls "dangerous and reckless behavior" in what the U.S. has alleged was a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.  President Obama spoke during a joint news conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Though their talks were wide-ranging, including the U.S.- South Korea free-trade agreement and tensions with North Korea, Mr. Obama was pressed about the U.S. response to the alleged plot.

Saying the facts are there for all to see, he said the United States knows Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen with an Iranian passport charged in the case, had direct links and was paid and directed by individuals in Iran's government.

Mr. Obama called it a "dangerous escalation" and part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior, adding Iran must pay a price in terms of further isolation.

"For Iran to have been involved in a plot like this indicates the degree to which it has been outside of the accepted norms of international behavior far too long," he said. "This is just one example of series of steps they have taken to create violence and to behave in a way that we don't see other countries doing."

Mr. Obama had this response when asked specifically if the United States knew whether Iran's top leaders had knowledge of the plot.

"Even if, at the highest levels, there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity," he said.

At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said U.S. and Iranian diplomats had a meeting this past Wednesday, which an official said occurred at the United Nations, in which the alleged plot was discussed.  She provided no details.

A U.S. official said the United States is sending out special teams to brief foreign governments on the case, saying among those requesting briefings were China, Russia and Turkey.

On other subjects, President Obama and President Lee reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-South Korea alliance, saying they remain completely united on their approach toward North Korea.  

"Our principled approach will remain steadfast," President Lee said. "We agreed that North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a serious threat to peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the world.  We will continue to work toward denuclearization of the peninsula."

"The choice is clear for North Korea," said President Obama. "If Pyongyang continues to ignore its international obligations, it will invite even more pressure and isolation. If the North abandons its quest for nuclear weapons and moves toward denuclearization, it will enjoy greater security and opportunity for its people."

Ratification by the U.S. Congress of the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement was a key focus of the Obama-Lee talks.  Both said the deal, which still must be approved by South Korea's national assembly, will help create jobs and expand exports.

President Lee conveyed his gratitude directly to U.S. lawmakers as he also addressed a joint meeting of Congress, before a state dinner at the White House.

Other topics in Thursday's discussions included Afghanistan, support for democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, the global economy and the G20 and APEC summits in November, and South Korea's planning for the next Nuclear Security Summit in March.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs