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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

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 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.

VOA Blogs