Obama chides rivals for 'popping off' about war with Iran over nukes
At a Super Tuesday press conference, Obama sought to draw a sharp line between himself and the GOP presidential field over handling of the Iran nuclear program. 'Loose talk,' he suggested, does not befit a commander in chief.
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On the question of how much time the so-called “5 +1” powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany – expect to give Iran in the upcoming talks, Obama said, “We will have a pretty good sense fairly quickly how serious they are.”Skip to next paragraph
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Netanyahu said in his speech Monday night to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that negotiations in the past have simply provided Iran cover – and time – for pursuing its nuclear goals. US officials acknowledge there is truth in that observation, noting for example that in some past “negotiations” Iran has completely avoided any talk of its nuclear program and instead focused on its historical grievances with the West.
That is why US and European officials say they found promising the fact that Iran, in its correspondence with Lady Ashton on renewing a dialogue, has specifically referred to nuclear issues to be on the agenda.
Obama also addressed reporters' questions about Syria and Afghanistan, calling the Syria situation “heartbreaking” and outrageous.” But he also said that addressing it is “more complicated” than the Libya crisis of a year ago and can’t be solved with the “simple solution” of unilateral military action.
On Aghanistan, Obama said the recent violence against American personnel in the aftermath of the case of Quran burning at a US-administered prison was “not acceptable.” But he resisted the suggestion of a reporter that the crisis indicated a “deterioration” in US-Afghan relations, and he said the military drawdown plan for turning over all security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014 would be pursued unchanged.
On all these issues, Obama sought to portray himself as the commander in chief who is weighing his decisions seriously – and with his top priority being America’s troops – while others who don’t have the responsibility “pop off” with “casual” talk of war.
Saying any military intervention has too many consequences to be considered lightly, the president added, “Sometimes we bear that cost, but we think it through.”
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