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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid