|Obama says U.S. respects Iran’s right to nuclear energy, acknowledges CIA role in 1953 coup||
In closely watched remarks on Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama told world leaders gathered in New York that Washington respects Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy -- words rarely spoken by U.S. officials since the beginning of the West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear program.
“We are not seeking regime change (in Iran), and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy,” Obama said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
He also acknowledged the CIA’s role in the 1953 coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddeq and said the mistrust between the two nations had “deep roots”.
“I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight,” he added.
Later in his speech, Obama said that he was “encouraged” by Iran’s new tone and had ordered a new diplomatic push to resolve the dispute over Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
“I want to be clear: We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course,” Obama said. “And given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government, in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China.”
That group -- known in diplomatic circles as the P5+1 or the 5+1 group -- has provided the framework for the talks on Iran’s nuclear program. Western governments accuse Iran of attempting to produce nuclear weapons, but Tehran denies the charge, saying it needs the program to provide energy.
In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
“We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful,” Obama stated in his speech at the UN.
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