While the United States continues to make some efforts toward reconciliation with the Iranian government it has treated as a mortal enemy, President Barack Obama has made comments which may serve to dramatically alter US policy toward the nation’s nuclear program.
In an interview today, Obama conceded that the Iranian government may have some right to seek nuclear energy for civilian purposes, labeling them “legitimate aspirations.” Previously US officials had said it was unacceptable for Iran to have any access to nuclear technology.
At the same time, Obama cautioned that we wants to see a “serious process” of negotiation with Iran by the end of the year. He made it unclear what the consequences would be of failing to attain that process, but officials have previously called for additional sanctions against Iran.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov promised earlier in the day that his nation would ensure that Iran was using its nuclear program purely for civilian purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has likewise affirmed that none of Iran’s uranium is being diverted to non-civilian use.