Candidates debate addressing Iran nuclear threat
Part 3 of the third presidential debate
- Duration 19:16
- Date Oct 22, 2012
Part 3 of the third presidential debate
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I'd like to move to the end next segment.
Red -- Israel and a wrong.
Would either of you and -- like two minutes and President Obama you have the first go at this one.
Would either of you be willing.
Two declared -- an attack on Israel.
It's an attack on the United States.
Which of course is the same promise that we give our close allies like Japan.
And if you've made such a declaration.
Would not that deter.
It says certainly deterred the Soviet union for a long long time when we made that what made we made that -- promise to our allies.
First of all it Israel is a true friend it is our greatest ally in the region and if Israel was attacked America will stand with -- -- I've made that clear throughout my presidency so your guess saying -- they've already made that -- -- -- I will stand with Israel if they are attacked and this is the reason why.
Working -- -- we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation.
Between our two countries in history.
In fact this week will be carrying -- the largest military exercise -- Israel in history this very week.
To the issue -- -- lot.
As long as I'm president United States Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
I've made that clear when I came in office we better organized the strongest.
And the strongest sanctions against Iran in history and it just crippling -- economy.
-- -- has dropped 80%.
Or production has plunge to lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq twenty years ago.
So their economy is in a shambles.
And the reason we did this is because a nuclear Iran is a threat to -- national security and it's a threat to Israel's national skirt.
But we cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race.
In the most volatile region of the world.
Iran's state sponsored terrorist and for them to be able to provide nuclear technology.
To non state actors that's unacceptable.
And they have said they want to see -- were wiped off the map.
So the work we've done -- respect to sanctions now.
Offers a lot of 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 gonna take any options off the table.
The disagreement I have -- governor Romney is that.
During the course 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 in the harm's way I always understand that that is a last resort not the first -- Two minutes well first of all.
-- water underscored that the same point the president made which is that if if I'm president had states.
-- I'm president that states we will stand with Israel.
And and if Israel was attacked we have their back not just diplomatically.
-- just culturally but militarily.
That's number one number two with regards to to Iran and the threat of Iraq.
That there's no question but that a nuclear Iran and nuclear capable Iran is unacceptable to Americans.
It presents a threat -- -- our friends but ultimately a threat to us to have Iran have nuclear material nuclear weapons to could be used against -- -- used to be threatening to us.
It's also essential -- understand what our mission is in -- and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means.
And crippling sanctions or something -- called for five years ago when I was in Israel speaking at -- personally a conference they laid out seven steps.
Crippling sanctions we're number one.
And they do work.
You're seeing it right now on the economy to apps to the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions how to put -- place earlier.
But it's good that we happen.
Number two something I would -- today is I would tighten those sanctions.
I would say that that ships that carry Iranian oil can't commend our ports I -- the EU would agree with us as well.
-- ships couldn't I'd say companies that are moving their oil can't people who are trading and -- well -- I would tighten those sanctions further.
Secondly I'd take on diplomatic isolation efforts I'd make sure that -- did the job is indicted -- the genocide convention.
His words -- amount to genocide in citation I would indicted for it.
I would also make sure that they're diplomats are treated like the -- they are around the world.
The same way we treated the apart tied a diplomats of South Africa.
We need to increase pressure time and time again on Iran because anything other today.
They a solution to this which says -- which stops this this nuclear folly of theirs is unacceptable to America.
And of course a military action.
Is the last resort.
It is something one would only only consider.
If all of the other avenues have been at that have been I've tried to their full extent.
Let me ask -- you there.
As you know there are reports that -- wrong and the United States is part of an international group have agreed in principle.
-- talks about Iran's nuclear program.
What is the deal if there are such talks what is the deal that you would accept this press.
Well first of all those -- reports of newspaper.
They are not true but our goal is to get -- rob.
To recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the UN resolutions that have been in place.
Because they have the opportunity to -- -- the community of nations.
And we would welcome that.
There're there're people in -- at the same aspirations people all around the world for a better life.
And we hope that their leadership.
Takes the right decision but the deal will except as they have their nuclear program gets very straight forward.
And he -- glad the governor Romney agrees with the steps that we're taking.
If there have been times government frankly during the course of this campaign work it sounded like.
You thought that.
You do the same things we did but you'd say -- louder and somehow that that would make a difference and it turns out that.
The work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions.
Is -- stake its meticulous.
We started from the day we got in office and the reason it 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 for a long time it's because we got everybody to agree.
That Iran is saying so much pressure.
And we've got to maintain that pressure there is a deal to be -- and that is that they abide by the rules that have already been established.
Today convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program there are -- inspections that are very intrusive.
Over time what they can do is Rico regain credibility.
In the meantime though we're not gonna let up the pressure until we have clear evidence that takes place and one last thing I'm -- just just make this point.
The caucus ticket.
-- what we're not going to allow Iran to perpetually.
Engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.
And I've been very clear to them.
-- because of the intelligence coordination that we do with a range of countries including Israel we have a sense of when they would get break out capacity.
Which means that we would not be able to intervene in time.
To stop their nuclear program and that caucus tickets -- -- 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 governor.
I think but from the very beginning one of the challenges we've had with Iran is that they have looked at this administration and and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be.
I think they saw weakness.
Where they had expected to find American strength and I say that because from the very beginning the president -- campaign some four years ago city meet with all the world's worst actors in his first year.
I did sit down with Chavez and Kim Jong ill with I Castro and with that with president Ahmadinejad.
And and I think they looked and thought well that's an unusual.
-- honored to receive from the president of the United States.
And then the president began what I'm called an apology tour.
I'm going to the various nations in the Middle East and and criticizing America I think -- look at that and -- weakness.
Then when there were dissidents in the streets of Tehran -- green revolution.
Holding signs saying is America with us the president was silent I did they notice that as well.
And I think that when the president said he was gonna create daylight between ourselves and Israel.
That that they notice that as well.
All of these things suggested I think to the Iranian mullahs that hey -- we don't we can keep on pushing along here we can keep talks going on.
But we're just gonna keep on spinning centrifuges now there some 101000 centrifuges spinning uranium.
Preparing to -- to create 888 a nuclear threat to the United States into the world.
That's unacceptable for us and and it's essential for a president to show strength from the very beginning.
To make it very clear what is acceptable and not acceptable and an Iranian nuclear program is not acceptable to us they must not developed nuclear capability.
And the way to make sure they understand that is by having from the very beginning the tightest sanctions possible they need to be tightened.
Our diplomatic isolation needs to be tougher we need to indict Jackman did -- job we need to put the pressure on them as hard as we possibly can because if we do that.
We won't have to take the military action.
Bob let me just respond.
Nothing governor Romney just said a stroke.
Starting where this notion of me apologizing to -- this has been.
Probably the biggest whopper that's been told that during the course of this campaign and -- fact checker -- -- reporters looked at a governor has said this is not true.
And when it comes to tightening sanctions.
Look as I said before we put it.
The toughest most crippling sanctions ever.
And the fact is while we were coordinating an international coalition to make -- sanctions were effective.
You were still invested in -- Chinese state oil company that was doing business with Iran -- oil sector.
So I'll let the American people decide judge who is going to be more effective and more credible when it comes to.
Imposing crippling sanctions.
And -- respect to our attitude about the Iran -- revolution I was very clear about.
That the murderous activities that have taken place and that was contrary that 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 -- -- office the world was divided.
Iran was were sort.
Iran is at its weakest point.
Strategically and militarily -- since than in many years and we are gonna continue to keep the pressure on.
To make short -- 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.
We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran.
-- for years closer to nuclear Iran.
And and where we should out of wasted these four years to the extent they've they've.
And continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer that's number one number two Mr.
President the reason I call an apology tour.
Is because you went to the Middle East and -- -- to Egypt and that Saudi Arabia and and to Turkey and Iraq.
And pick and by the way -- skipped Israel.
Our closest friend in the region but she went the other nations and by the way they noticed that she -- district.
And then in those nations and an Arabic TV you said that America had been dismissive and derisive.
You said that occasion America had dictated to other nations.
President America has not dictated to other nations we have freed other nations from dictator.
Let me let me respond.
You know if we're gonna talk about trips that we've taken.
-- what I was a candidate for office.
First trip I took was to visit our troops.
And what I went to Israel as a candidate.
I didn't take donors I didn't attend fundraisers.
I want to got the ship.
The holocaust museum there to remind myself.
That the nature of people.
And why are bond with Israel will be unbreakable.
And that I went down to the border -- of stroke.
Which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas.
And I saw families there.
If -- show me where missiles would come down near their children's bedrooms and I was reminded of of what that would mean if those were my kids.
Which is why as president.
We funded and -- -- don't program to stop those nests.
So that's how I've used my travels.
When I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region.
And that the central question at this point is going to be core is going to be credible.
To all parties involved.
And they can look at my track record whether it's Iran sanctions whether it's dealing with counter terrorism.
Whether supporting democracy.
Whether it's supporting women's rights whether it's supporting religious minorities and they can say that.
The president United States and the United States of America.
The stood on the right side of history.
And and and that kind of credibility.
Is precisely why we've been able to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now what.
If what if they -- prime minister of Israel -- on the phone and said.
Our bombers are on the way.
We're gonna bomb Iran.
What -- you about it.
-- -- let's not -- hypotheticals of that nature -- that our relationship with Israel my relationship with the prime minister of Israel is such that we would.
Not get a call center bombers are on the way.
Or their fighters are on the way this is the kind of thing that that would have been discussed and and thoroughly evaluated.
Well before that kind of some last minute just I've got -- -- that's that's okay that lets see what let -- let exotica like I'm back let's go back in the back to what the president was speaking about which is what's happening in the world.
And and and and the the president's statement that that things are going so well.
Look I look at what's happening around the world and I see Iran for -- closer to -- bomb.
I -- the Middle East with a rising tide of violence chaos -- -- I see G hottest continuing to spread.
Whether they're rising or just about the same level hard to argue it if it precisely measure but this is clear they're there they're very.
Very strong -- -- Syria with 30000 civilians dead.
Assad still in power I see our trade deficit with China.
Larger than its get the growing larger every year as a matter of fact I look around the world and I I don't feel that.
That the UC North Korea -- continuing to export their nuclear technology Russia said the not gonna follow Nunn Lugar anymore.
They're -- back away from prove -- that the nuclear proliferation.
Treaties that we had with them I look around the world I don't see your influence growing around the world I see your influence -- In part because of the failure of the president to do with our economic challenges -- all.
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.
-- the president received a letter from 38 Democrats senators.
Sign that tensions within Israel where real problem they asked him please repair the -- Democrat senators.
Please repair the -- genocide in -- -- the party.
Governor of the the problem is that on a whole range of issues.
Whether it's the Middle East weather's.
Whether it's Iraq whether it's now.
And you've been all over the map I mean I'm I'm pleased that you now are endorsing.
Our policy of applying diplomatic pressure and potentially having.
Bilateral discussions with the Iran -- to end their nuclear program but.
Just a few years ago you said that's something you never -- In the same way that you initially opposed a timetable in Afghanistan.
-- your -- although it depends.
In the same way that you say eight.
You would have ended the war in Iraq but recently gave a speech saying that we should have 40000 more folks in the the same way that you said that it was mission creep to go after.
-- -- When it comes to going after Osama thought you said -- -- president would make that call.
But when your candidate in 2008 as I want us and I said if I got bin Laden in our sights I would take that shot.
You certainly should move heaven and earth to get one man.
You said we should ask pockets stump for permission.
To -- -- -- -- permission we Orton out of got.
And it was -- moving heaven and earth to get.
-- after we killed bin Laden I was at ground zero for memorial and talk to a a young woman who was four years old.
9/11 happened in the last conversation she had with her father was kept calling from the Twin Towers.
Saying -- I love you and I'll always watch it over you.
And for the next decade she was haunted by that conversation and she said to -- you know.
-- finally getting bin Laden that brought some closure to me and when we do things like that.
What what we bring those who -- mr.
That sends a message to the world.
And it tells -- that we did not forget her far right and and I make that point because that's the kind of clarity of leadership and those.
Decisions are not always popular.
Those decisions generally they're generally are not poll tested and even -- -- my own party including my current vice president.
Have the same critique of -- did.
But what the American people understand is is that I look at what we need to get done to keep the American people safe and then move our interest board.
And I make those decision.
All right let's go and that leads -- this takes -- right to the next segment governor.
America's longest war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But Bob and governor are you skeptical -- can't prohibit you can't have that the president just lay out a whole series what -- -- items -- give me a chance they'll win by respect sir you had laid out quite -- a program though that's probably true will go back.
We'll give you will agree we'll catch -- United States is scheduled.