"October 22, 2012 Debate Transcript," 4th and final Obama and Romney presidential debate before election, Bob Schieffer moderator. Iran portion begins about half way down page
4/2/15, "Washington Post Editorial Board: Obama’s Iran deal falls far short of his own goals," Washington Post, The Editorial Board
"THE “KEY parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.
That’s a long way from the standard set by President Obama in 2012 when he declared that “the deal we’ll accept” with Iran “is that they end their nuclear program” and “abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those resolutions call for Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Instead, under the agreement announced Thursday, enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years.
Mr. Obama argued forcefully — and sometimes combatively — Thursday that the United States and its partners had obtained “a good deal” and that it was preferable to the alternatives, which he described as a nearly inevitable slide toward war. He also said he welcomed a “robust debate.” We hope that, as that debate goes forward, the president and his aides will respond substantively to legitimate questions, rather than claim, as Mr. Obama did, that the “inevitable critics” who “sound off” prefer “the risk of another war in the Middle East.”
The proposed accord will provide Iran a huge economic boost that will allow it to wage more aggressively the wars it is already fighting or sponsoring across the region. Whether that concession is worthwhile will depend in part on details that have yet to be agreed upon, or at least publicly explained. For example, the guidance released by the White House is vague in saying that U.S. and European Union sanctions “will be suspended after” international inspectors have “verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear related steps.” Exactly what steps would Iran have to complete, and what would the verification consist of?
The agreement is based on a theoretical benchmark: that Iran would need at least a year to produce fissile material sufficient for a weapon, compared with two months or less now. It remains to be seen whether the limits on enrichment and Iran’s stockpile will be judged by independent experts as sufficient to meet that standard.
Both Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry emphasized that many details need to be worked out in talks with Iran between now and the end of June. During that time, the administration will have much other work to do: It must convince Mideast allies that Iran is not being empowered to become the region’s hegemon, and it must accommodate Congress’s legitimate prerogative to review the accord. We hope Mr. Obama will make as much effort to engage in good faith with skeptical allies and domestic critics as he has with the Iranian regime." via Lucianne
Link from Washington Post Editorial above, Obama Oct. 22, 2012 Iran statements begin about half way down page:
Would either of you -- and you'll have two minutes -- and, President Obama, you have the first go at this one -- would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, which, of course, is the same promise that we give to our close allies like Japan.
And if you made such a declaration, would not that deter Iran? It's certainly deterred the Soviet Union for a long, long time when we made that -- we made -- we made that promise to our allies.
OBAMA: First of all, Israel is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region. And if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I've made that clear throughout my presidency. And...
SCHIEFFER: So you're -- you're saying we've already made that declaration.
OBAMA: 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.
In fact, this week we'll be carrying out the largest military exercise with Israel in history, this very week. But to the issue of Iran, as long as I'm president of the United States Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. I made that clear when I came into office.
OBAMA: 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 a shambles.
And the reason we did this is because a nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security, and it is a threat to Israel's national security. We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.
Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. And for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to non-state actors, that's unacceptable. And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.
So the work that we've done with respect to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president, me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table.
The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that, during the course of this campaign, he's often talked as if we should take premature military action. I think that would be a mistake, because when I've sent young men and women into harm's way, I always understand that that is the last resort, not the first resort....
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask both of you, there -- as you know, there are reports that Iran and the United States a part of an international group, have agreed in principle to talks about Iran's nuclear program. What is the deal, if there are such talks? What is the deal that you would accept, Mr. President?
OBAMA: Well, first of all those are reports in the newspaper. They are not true. But our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place. Because they have the opportunity to reenter the community of nations, and we would welcome that.
There -- there are people in Iran who have the same aspirations as people all around the world for a better life. And we hope that their leadership takes the right decision, but the deal we'll accept is they end their nuclear program. It's very straightforward. And I'm glad that Governor Romney agrees with the steps that we're taking. You know, there have been times, Governor, frankly, during the course of this campaign, where it sounded like you thought that you'd do the same things we did, but you'd say them louder and somehow that -- that would make a difference.
And it turns out that the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is painstaking. It's meticulous. We started from the day we got into office. And the reason is was so important -- and this is a testament to how we've restored American credibility and strength around the world -- is we had to make sure that all the countries participated, even countries like Russia and China. Because if it's just us that are imposing sanctions -- we've had sanctions in place a long time. It's because we got everybody to agree that Iran is seeing so much pressure. And we've got to maintain that pressure.
There is a deal to be had, and that is that they abide by the rules that have already been established. They convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program. There are inspections that are very intrusive. But over time, what they can do is regain credibility. In the meantime, though, we're not going to let up the pressure until we have clear evidence that that takes place.
And one last thing -- just -- just to make this point. The clock is ticking. We're not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere. And I've been very clear to them. You know, because of the intelligence coordination that we do with a range of countries, including Israel, we have a sense of when they would get breakout capacity, which means that we would not be able to intervene in time to stop their nuclear program.
And that clock is ticking. And we're going to make sure that if they do not meet the demands of the international community, then we are going to take all options necessary to make sure they don't have a nuclear weapon."...
Romney speaks, Obama asks to respond:
"OBAMA: Bob, let me just respond.
Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign. And every fact checker and every reporter who's looked at it, Governor, has said this is not true.
And when it comes to tightening sanctions, look, as I said before, we've put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. And the fact is, while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector.
So I'll let the American people decide, judge, who's going to be more effective and more credible when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions.
And with respect to our attitude about the Iranian revolution, I was very clear about the murderous activities that had taken place and that was contrary to international law and everything that civilized people stand for.
And -- and so the strength that we have shown in Iran is shown by the fact that we've been able to mobilize the world.
When I came into office, the world was divided. Iran was resurgent. Iran is at its weakest point, economically, strategically, militarily, then since -- then in many years. And we are going to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure that they do not get a nuclear weapon. That's in America's national interest and that will be the case so long as I'm president.
ROMNEY: We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran. We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran. And -- and -- we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they -- they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. That's number one....
ROMNEY: I look around the world, I don't see our influence growing around the world. I see our influence receding, in part because of the failure of the president to deal with our economic challenges at home; in part because of our withdrawal from our commitment to our military in the way I think it ought to be; in part because of the -- the -- the turmoil with Israel.
I mean, the president received a letter from 38 Democrat senators saying the tensions with Israel were a real problem. They asked him, please repair the tension -- Democrat senators -- please repair the tension...
SCHIEFFER: All right.
ROMNEY: ... the damage in his -- in his own party.
OBAMA: Governor, the problem is, is that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's Afghanistan, whether it's Iraq, whether it's now Iran, you've been all over the map....
SCHIEFFER: All right, let's go. And that leads us -- this takes us right to the next segment, Governor, America's longest war, Afghanistan and Pakistan...
SCHIEFFER: Governor, you get to go first.
ROMNEY: You can't -- but you can't have the president just lay out a whole series of items without giving me a chance to respond.
SCHIEFFER: With respect, sir, you had laid out quite a program...
ROMNEY: Well, that's probably true."...