Iran Nuclear Program is
Major Talking Point in US Election
October 29, 2012
Iran’s nuclear program has been at the forefront of challenges faced by
four U.S. administrations. The issue has been a major talking point for
both major candidates of the 2012 presidential elections. Republican
candidate, Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama as being too soft.
But, the Obama Administration disputes that claim and says the
international sanctions imposed and enforced on Iran were led by
Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential candidate,
Mitt Romney, does not believe President Obama has done enough to stop
Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“I think from the very beginning, one of the challenges we’ve had with
Iran is that they have looked at this administration and felt that the
administration was not as strong as it needed to be. I think they saw
weakness where they had expected to find American strength," he said.
During the third and last debate, President Obama defended his
“As long as I am the President of the United States, Iran will not get a
nuclear weapon. I made that clear when I came into office. We then
organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against
Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has
dropped 80 percent. Their oil production has plunged to the lowest level
since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20 years ago. So their economy
is in shambles," he said.
Obama’s challenger believes there is more the U.S. should do.
“I’d take on diplomatic isolation efforts. I’d make sure that
Ahmadinejad is indicted under the genocide convention. His words amount
to genocide in citation. I would indict him for it. I would also make
sure that their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around
the world," said Romney.
Governor Romney is referring to the remarks of Iranian President,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel.
Both candidates believe that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to U.S.
national interests. Ari Ratner, a Principal at the Truman Project on
National Security, says, by nature, American foreign policy is
bipartisan, and preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is a
“American National interests don’t change so much from one
administration to another. A lot of this (Romney's critique of Obama) is
bluster, desire to look tough," he said.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and has no
military component. But Yukiya Amano, the head of the International
Atomic Energy Agency, United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, says the agency
needs clarifications in 12 areas before it can confirm Iran’s claim.
While the American candidates spar over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear
ambitions, Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is losing patience
with Washington’s approach.
“These sanctions are hitting the Iran economy hard, they haven’t yet
rolled back the Iranian ((nuclear)) program. We’ll know that they are
achieving their goal when the centrifuges stop spinning and when the
Iranian nuclear program is rolled back," he said.
United States and its allies have rejected Netanyahu’s demand to set a
red line for Iran’s nuclear program. But, at the UN General Assembly,
Netanyahu did just that and has said his next course of action will be
military strike against Iranian nuclear sites and facilities.
Iran has threatened to retaliate against any country’s attack. Mitt
Romney is critical of the Obama administration for not clearly saying
that Washington would back Israel if it was attacked.
But President Obama has made it clear that the U.S. will not abandon its
long-time ally. "I will stand with Israel if they are attacked. And this
is the reason why, working with Israel, we have created the strongest
military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in
history," he said.
Speaking to the General Assembly last month, Obama told the world’s
leaders that he remains committed to diplomatic, economic and political
tools, but would explore what he called the full range of options if
Tehran does not bend.