Following a joint press conference with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, U.S. President Barack Obama said that he will not sign an agreement with Iran unless he could be assured it would prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I’ve said from the start I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal,” Obama said at the White House on Tuesday, USA Today reports.
The statement came on the day that the U.S. and five other world powers missed the deadline for an agreement. U.S. officials said the deadline would be extended to July 7 to finalize the agreement that would check Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief.
“There is still some hard negotiating to be done,” Obama said and indicated that Iranian negotiators have talked about backtracking from the original framework agreement.
The framework agreement reached in April, “if implemented effectively and codified properly, would, in fact, achieve my goal,” Obama said.
He maintains that rigorous inspections are necessary for him to sign a deal, the scope of which has been a major point throughout the negotiations.
“The goal of the nuclear negotiations is not to rely on trust,” Obama said, “but to set up a verifiable mechanism where we are cutting off the pathways for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been defensive against Western demands to inspect Iranian military installation where they suspect nuclear activity, The Hill reports.
The president said that a deal with Iran will have to cut off their path to building a nuclear weapon and that it would have to be verifiable by international inspectors.
“There has been a lot of talk on the other side from the Iranian negotiators about whether, in fact, they can abide by some of the terms that came up in Lausanne,” the president said, referring to the original framework agreement reached in the Swiss city in April.
“If they cannot, that’s going to be a problem,” Obama added in the video on Reuters.
“If the inspections regime, verification regime is inadequate then we're not going to get a deal and we've been very clear to the Iranian government about that,” Obama said.