Sen. Obama Sees Threat If Iran Builds Nuclear Weapons, Long-Range Missiles
Obama Would Take No Options Off Table In Dealing With Iranian Nuclear Program
The United States and its allies will face a grave threat that they cannot countenance if Iran develops nuclear arms and missiles to deliver them, Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said.
Obama, speaking as he toured Israel during a multi-nation trip to burnish his foreign policy credentials, spoke as Iran defies global opinion, continuing to produce nuclear materials despite sanctions.
The United States, in an Obama administration, would take no options off the table in dealing with Iranian defiance, the senator said.
Obama’s comments reacted to Iranian refusals to cease processing nuclear materials. While Iran claims the materials would be used to fuel a nuclear electrical generating plant, Western observers note that Russia already supplied sufficient, already processed, nuclear fuel for such a station.
Many military analysts fear that Iran will take the low-grade nuclear materials and process them further into weapons-grade fissile matter that will be used to build nuclear weapons.
Further, Iran several times has fired multiple missiles in salvo test launches.
As well, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be wiped from the map, and that Israel soon shall cease to exist. And he had denied that the Holocaust occurred.
"Iran has sought nuclear weapons, supports militias inside Iraq and terror across the region, and its leaders threaten Israel and deny the Holocaust," according to Obama’s campaign Website.
Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has criticized Obama for offering to negotiate directly with Iranian leaders. Obama still says he would prefer to deal with the Iranian threat through peaceful steps such as high-level negotiations or heightened sanctions.
However, Obama said Western nations cannot acquiesce to Iranian nuclear ambitions, terming Tehran moves to gain nuclear capability a game-changing event. Should Iran continue to defy world opinion and produce nuclear materials, Obama’s comments would appear to accommodate, at some future point, a tacit if undeclared green light for Israel to launch a strike taking out Iranian nuclear facilities.
Obama clearly has frowned on using U.S. military strikes to hit Iran.
Rather, he has favored negotiations and sanctions to deal with the recalcitrant Iran.
"If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations," the Obama Website notes. However, "If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation."
Obama’s comments about Iran during his foreign policy tour of the Middle East and Europe, remarks he is making after securing his victory in obtaining enough support to become the Democratic nominee, are considerably more hawkish than statements he made while he still was battling Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the nomination.
For example, in May, Clinton said Iran needs to realize that if it attacks Israel with a nuclear weapon, the United States would "obliterate" Iran.
At the time, Obama criticized Clinton’s language as overly harsh, saying that he would take a more low-key and diplomatic approach.
Now, however, as the nominee, Obama is saying that the United States cannot idly accept a nuclear-weaponized Iran.
Three weeks ago, when Iran fired missiles in a salvo launch, Obama said this just shows that Iran is a "great threat."