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
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.

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Comment Sorting
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:

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.

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