Obama leaves door open for Iran talks

US president Barack Obama heralded today’s new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program as the toughest ever, but still left the door open for future diplomacy.

Speaking at the White House shortly after the Security Council vote, Mr. Obama said: “Actions do have consequences and today the Iranian government will face some of those consequences.”

The sanctions target Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments, but are not as tough as what the Obama administration had originally proposed.

The resolution passed 12-2 with Turkey and Brazil voting “no” and Lebanon abstaining.

Mr. Obama said the sanctions send an “unmistakable message” that the world will not allow Tehran to violate its international obligations.

Iran has repeatedly defied calls to suspend its uranium enrichment and start negotiations on its nuclear program, instead stepping up its activities and announcing plans to build new nuclear facilities.

Tehran insists its program is purely peaceful, aimed at producing nuclear energy.

Still, Mr. Obama said that sanctions were not inevitable.

“We offered the opportunity for a better relationship with the international community,” he said. “I want to be clear these sanctions do not close the door on diplomacy. Iran has the opportunity to take a different and better path.”

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