Obama: Diplomacy window shrinking


The window for Iran to resolve its differences with the West through diplomacy is shrinking, President Obama said.

“They should understand that because the international community has applied so many sanctions, because we have employed so many of the options that are available to us to persuade Iran to take a different course, that the window for solving this issue diplomatically is shrinking,” Obama said in a news conference Wednesday with British Prime Minister David Cameron, whom he was meeting in Washington.

Obama’s remarks come a week after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who expressed his skepticism about the efficacy of sanctions and diplomacy.

Before meeting with Netanyahu, Obama in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee made his most explicit commitment as president to using military action to stop an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Obama and Cameron stressed that Iran still had time to make more transparent its suspected nuclear program, but that Iran could not use negotiations to delay sanctions.

“Tehran must understand that it cannot escape or evade the choice before it—meet your international obligations or face the consequences,” Obama said.

Obama: ‘All options’ – including diplomacy – still on with Iran


All options are on the table for Iran, but a diplomatic solution to the impasse over its nuclear weapons program is still a possibility, President Obama said in his State of the Union speech.

Obama said Iran was more isolated than ever because of the intensified sanctions he has introduced or encouraged.

“Let there be no doubt:  America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal,” he said.  “But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.”

Obama also referred to the defense alliance with Israel, but did not mention—as he has in past speeches—his efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“Our iron-clad, and I mean iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history,” he said to a standing ovation.

Speaking of the “Arab Spring” wave of protests across the region, Obama said the outcome was still uncertain, and alluded to concerns about Islamist victories in elections in Egypt and Tunisia.

“While it is ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well,” he said.  “We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews.”  He predicted the demise of the Assad regime in Syria.

Much of Obama’s speech was focused on proposals to spur job creation.

The State of the Union marked one of the last appearances in Congress of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who is still recovering from a shooting attack a year ago and who is resigning from Congress as of tomorrow to focus on her recovery.

Giffords was cheered walking into the chamber, accompanied by her close friend, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Obama sought Giffords out for a hug before he began his speech.