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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid