PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here with our P5+1 partners, the European Union, and Director General Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Because of the nations that are represented here today, we achieved a historic deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And today is an opportunity to review progress as that deal continues to be implemented.
Our work together is a key part of the comprehensive agenda that I outlined in Prague seven years ago — stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and seeking the long-term vision of a world without them. That included strengthening the global regime that prevents the spread of nuclear weapons. And one of the greatest tests of that regime was Iran’s nuclear program. After nearly two years of intensive negotiations, backed by strong sanctions, the countries represented in this room achieved what decades of animosity and rhetoric did not — a long-term deal that closes off every possible path to building a nuclear weapon, and subjects Iran to the most comprehensive nuclear inspections ever negotiated.
And thanks to this deal, we have seen real progress. Already, Iran has dismantled two-thirds of its installed centrifuges. Iran has shipped 98 percent of its enriched uranium stockpile out of Iran. Iran has removed the Arak reactor core and filled it with concrete. If Iran were to cheat, the breakout time to build a nuclear weapon has gone from two to three months to about a year.
In January, the IAEA verified that Iran had fulfilled key commitments of the deal. And today, Director General Amano will update us on implementation. Our nations have lifted nuclear-related sanctions and it will take time for Iran to reintegrate into the global economy, but Iran is already beginning to see the benefits of this deal.
I think it’s important to note that this deal does not resolve all of our differences with Iran, including destabilizing activities in the region. Except for limited exceptions, the U.S. trade embargo on Iran remains in place. And we also continue to vigorously enforce sanctions pertaining to Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile programs. That’s U.S. policy. But what this group — that doesn’t agree on all aspects of policy — does agree on is that this deal has achieved a substantial success, and focused on the dangers of nuclear proliferation in an effective way.
The road to this deal was not easy. It took commitment, diplomacy, hard work. It took the leaders and countries gathered around this table coming together and working out our own differences in approach. Full and continued implementation is going to take the same kind of cooperation and consultation. But I am extremely grateful to our partners in this effort.
Even as we continue to face nuclear threats around the world — which is the topic of this summit — this deal does remind us that when the international community stands as one, we can advance our common security.
So I want to thank all the leaders who are gathered here, the countries who are participating, Director General Amano. This is a success of diplomacy that hopefully we’ll be able to copy in the future.
Thank you very much, everybody.