Iran Nuclear Program is Major Talking Point in US Election

Guita Aryan

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 Washington.

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 performance.

“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 clear example.

“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. 

The 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.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ali Vazir from: Karachi, Pakistan
October 30, 2012 12:16 PM
So nicely commented by the 2 gentlemen that not much is left. Though VOA has disappointed us by making headlines that are only "Voice of Israel", neither the Voice of the World, nor the "Voice of America".

by: Thooj ying from: Middle-East
October 30, 2012 11:23 AM
No one can stopped Iran nuke program, if no bomb now. 100% iran nuke'll go to the terror hand and that day no body can sleep not only Israel, but the next is USA and EU.

by: George from: USA
October 30, 2012 1:05 AM
As for, "Governor Romney is referring to the remarks of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel." This is utterly childish.

So, when has President Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Israel. It is unbelievable that people still repeat this ridiculous myth. It is all based on a mis-translation of a single sentence in 2005. How long are people going to drag on this silly lie?

by: Prof. Taheri from: Manchester, UK
October 30, 2012 12:27 AM
The details of an Israeli attack on Iran are revealed in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine.”

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs