Friday, November 29, 2013

Ambassador Hale Remarks Following Announcement of the Initial Understanding with Iran on its Nuclear Weapons Program

November 28, 2013
My meeting today with Prime Minister Mikati was an opportunity to discuss the recent understanding between the international community and Iran.  These initial understandings will both stop Iran's nuclear plan from advancing and roll back key aspects of the program.  These are the first meaningful limits Iran has accepted on its nuclear program in close to a decade.

 This understanding lasts for six months.  During that period, negotiations will continue.  Their aim is a long-term, comprehensive solution that addresses all of the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program and its ability to develop nuclear weapons.  

 That is our goal because we are committed to preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to protecting our allies, especially in a region such as the Middle East, where security is so critical.  A successful resolution of this issue could have profoundly positive benefits for all people in the region and the world

 We recognize that Lebanon's leaders and people have a justifiable interest about these negotiations and about what is happening, and in knowing what they may mean for Lebanon and its relationship with the United States.

 I'd like to underscore a point Secretary Kerry has made: these discussions will not change our alliances or our friendships.  In fact, these discussions with Iran in no way dilute the strength and steadfastness of our commitment to the shared values of the Lebanese and Americans, or to our strategies and partnerships to promote those goals.

 As we proceed with negotiations about Iran's nuclear program, the United States will not ignore Iran's destabilizing actions in the region.  We will continue to counter Iran's terrorist activities, and those of its proxies, including Hizballah.

 We will continue to enforce sanctions that remain in place - continuing the pressure on Iran during this first phase. And we will continue our work with Lebanon to ensure that the enforcement of the international sanctions remains rigorous.  We will continue to urge adherence to Lebanese law and international agreements, such as the Baabda Declaration and Security Council resolutions 1701 and 1559.  We, and the International Support Group, will continue to address the effects on Lebanon from the war in Syria and help in Lebanon's wise policy of dissociation from that conflict.

 Our commitment to Lebanon, our desire to work with the people and leaders of Lebanon to ensure a stable, independent, prosperous, and sovereign Lebanon, remains as strong as ever.