President Obama and French President Francois Hollande held a joint press conference today at the White House.
The two leaders took questions from reporters about Syria and Iran.
On Iran, President Obama said that he plans on enforcing the sanctions. “Businesses may be exploring are there some possibilities to get in sooner rather than later, if and when there is an actual agreement to be had. But I can tell you that they do so at their own peril right now, because we will come down on them like a ton of bricks.”
He called the state of Syria is “crumbling.”
“That is bad for Syria, it is bad for the region, it is bad for global national security,” Obama said, adding that extremists have moved in to parts of the country that could threaten the U.S. and the world over the long term.
He stressed that there needs to be a political solution and said the country is far from returning to a sense of normalcy.
Today, the United Nations Security Council will debate a resolution that would permit greater access for humanitarian aid workers to deliver food and shelter to the Syrian people.
Obama said the Russian government is responsible for starving the Syrians if they continue to block resolutions. “We are going to commit to not just pressure the Assad regime, but to get countries like Russia and Iran to recognize that it is in nobody’s interest to see the continuing bloodshed and collapse that’s taking place inside that country.”
While he doesn’t believe there is a military solution, he called the situation fluid. “I’ve said throughout my presidency that I always reserve the right to exercise military action on behalf America’s national security interests, but that has to be deployed wisely.”
Hear more from the press conference in the clip above.