Obama threatens to veto new sanctions against Iran

Tags: Iran, Obama, News
President Barack Obama today vowed to veto any new Congressional bill imposing sanctions to curb Iran's controversial nuclear programme, even as he said the US would remain focused on the vital Asia-Pacific region and shape a future of greater security.

In his sixth annual State of the Union Address to the Congress, Obama promised a "year of action" as he touched upon various areas of the world, emphasising on key aspects of his foreign policy. There was no mention of India in his 76-minute prime time speech.

"We will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster – as we did in the Philippines," Obama said.

Observing that in a world of complex threats, US' security and leadership depends on all elements of its power, Obama said American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands and allowed to reduce reliance on Cold War stockpiles.

"American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear," he said.

Attributing the tough sanctions on Iran for bringing Tehran on the negotiations table, Obama threatened to veto any Congressional bill that imposes new sanctions on Iran as talks of curtailing the latter's nuclear weapons programme continue.

"The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed," he said.

It is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran's nuclear programme and rolled back parts of it for the very first time in a decade, the US President argued. Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium, he said.

On his policy in Afghanistan, Obama said the US may station a small force post-2014 even as America's longest war will come to an end by this year.

Obama promised to wield his executive powers in a "year of action" to lift up workers, improve education and clean the environment if his foes in Congress stall his action. "America does not stand still -- and neither will I," he said.

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