We continue to face a grave situation in Iran, where our Embassy has been seized and more than 60 American citizens continue to be held as hostages in an attempt to force unacceptable demands on our country. We're using every available channel to protect the safety of the hostages and to secure their release.
Along with the families of the hostages, I have welcomed and I appreciate the restraint that has been shown by Americans during this crisis. We must continue to exhibit such constraint, despite the intensity of our emotions. The lives of our people in Iran are at stake.
I must emphasize the gravity of the situation. It's vital to the United States and to every other nation that the lives of diplomatic personnel and other citizens abroad be protected and that we refuse to permit the use of terrorism and the seizure and the holding of hostages to impose political demands.
No one should underestimate the resolve of the American Government and the American people in this matter. It is necessary to eliminate any suggestion that economic pressures can weaken our stand on basic issues of principle. Our position must be clear. I am ordering that we discontinue purchasing of any oil from Iran for delivery to this country.
These events obviously demonstrate the extreme importance of reducing oil consumption here in the United States. I urge every American citizen and every American business to redouble efforts to curtail the use of petroleum products. This action will pose a real challenge to our country. It will be a test of our strength and of our determination.
Eye directed Secretary Duncan to work with the Congress and with other Federal, State, and local officials, and with leaders of industry to develop additional measures to conserve oil and to cope with this new situation. We will strive to ensure equitable and fair distribution of petroleum products and to ensure a minimum of disruption of our Nation's economy.
These American measures must be part of an effective international effort, and we will consult with our allies and with other oil-consuming nations about further actions to reduce oil consumption and oil imports.
America does face a difficult task and a test. Our response will measure our character and our courage. I know that we Americans shall not fail.
Thank you very much.