Remarks by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Iran Sanctions (Excerpts)

February 22, 2010

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Q I've got a question on Iran. Has there been any sign at all that China might be more willing to embrace sanctions in light of the IAEA report?

MR. GIBBS: I can check with NSC. I have not heard anything specifically on China. Look, I do believe, Dan, that one of the -- the IAEA report represents one of the clearest denunciations of what the Iranians have been working on. It is a clear -- it is clear and concise in the ways in which the Iranian government has taken steps to conceal over many years what it's done. And I think this continues the nations of the P5-plus-1 and members of the IAEA and quite frankly the greater international community in collectively bringing forward the notion that Iran continues to thumb its nose at its international obligations.

The President has been clear, leaders in the IAEA and the P5-plus-1, our allies have been clear, that without a change in behavior the Iranian government faces necessary consequences. We're working on that. We've been -- we've worked quite closely with the Chinese on the strongest sanctions that have ever gone through the Security Council in resolution 1847 [sic] dealing with North Korea.*

So we believe strongly and I think the Chinese believe that an arms race either in the Middle East or an international arms race is in no way in their interests, particularly -- we certainly know that -- for what drives the Chinese economy, energy is a big part of it. An arms race in the Middle East, which could clearly be touched off as a result of this, is not in the interests of anyone.

Q Who would the race be with? And why are you so hopeful about the summit coming up?

MR. GIBBS: Helen, I think that, first and foremost, this is what a number -- we've heard a number of people say: "We'd like to go through the President's plan with the President. We'd like to bring forward our ideas." We're happy to host the venue -- a venue for that to happen.

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