President Barack Obama told a small group of journalists Wednesday that he is considering a return to international nuclear talks with Iran as there are growing signs that international pressure may be working to change Iran’s nuclear calculus.
“It is very important to put before the Iranians a clear set of steps that we would consider sufficient to show that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons,” Obama said, according to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. “They should know what they can say ‘yes’ to.”
“Changing [Iran’s] calculus is very difficult, even though this is painful for them and we are beginning to see rumblings in Iran that they are surprised by how successful we’ve been,” Obama said, according to Marc Ambinder. “That doesn’t mean that they aren’t working actively to get around it. But the costs of the sanctions are going to be higher than Iran would have anticipated six months ago, even three months ago.”
“It may be that their ideological commitment to nuclear weapons is such that they’re not making a simple cost-benefit analysis on this issue,” Obama said. If that is the case, “then they will bear the costs of that,” the president said, adding he would use “all options available to us to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region and to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”