News / Middle East

Obama Voices Support for Syrian Opposition, Discusses Iran

President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012
x
President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012
President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012
In his first news conference since winning reelection, President Barack Obama said he still hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Obama also discussed the situation in Syria

Most of the questions to Obama dealt with the U.S. economy, but he was asked about Syria and Iran.

On Syria, the president was asked about the continuing brutal crackdown by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and whether the United States formally recognizes the newly-formed coalition of Syrian opposition groups.

Obama said he is encouraged by the development, adding U.S. envoys will be talking with the coalition.  But he stopped short of voicing any formal recognition, as France as done.

He underscored U.S. concern that the Syrian umbrella opposition group show it is committed to certain basic principles.

"We are not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile, but we do think that it is a broad-based representative group.  One of the questions that we are going to continue to press is making sure that that opposition is committed to a democratic Syria, an inclusive Syria, a moderate Syria," Obama said.

Obama mentioned U.S. concern that Syria's opposition not be "splintered and divided" in the face of what he called the "onslaught" by the Assad regime.

He said the U.S. remains in very close contact with Turkey and Jordan, and Israel, which he said has concerns about possible movements of Syrian chemical weapons.

The president had this response when asked if there was any point at which the U.S. would consider arming the opposition.

"We have seen extremist elements insinuate themselves into the opposition.  And one of things we have to be on guard about, particularly when we start talking about arming opposition figures, is that we're not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do Americans harm, or do Israelis harm, or otherwise engage in actions that are detrimental to our national security," Obama said.

Obama was also asked if he plans a new diplomatic push for a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Saying he "very much" wants to see such a solution, he said a "window of time" remains to resolve the issue diplomatically.

Yes, I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between Iran and not just us but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved.  I can't promise that Iran will walk through the door that they need to walk through, but that would be very much the preferable option," Obama said.

Asked under what circumstances direct U.S. - Iranian discussions might take place, Obama declined to talk about what he called the "details of negotiations."

But he said it was "fair to say" the U.S. wants to get the issue resolved and would not be constrained by diplomatic niceties or protocols."  Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Esther Haman from: DC
November 14, 2012 7:45 PM
For the Zionists among us, please read it and weep. The following is only a few lines of this accord:

ALGIERS ACCORDS
January 19, 1981

Point I: Non-Intervention in Iranian Affairs
1. The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United
States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.

The Zionist may want to think and act differently, but we stand by our words. We will not be fooled again by the Zionist to start a new war with the Muslims so they get the chance to occupy more Palestinian and Arab territories.

Get it?!
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain Planet Africa
November 15, 2012 4:06 AM
Obama, being cautious now on the Syria opposition issue is late! You took the lead in supporting and arming rebellion in Syria. Now, you come to realise that extremists are involved. How visionary you are! Too late!! Obama too late!! The answer to the Syria problem is the hands of the Almighty God. If left for the world leaders, they have failed the world by supporting unduely evil in the name of seeking one world order.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More