Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama on Iran’s nuclear program

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Excerpts from the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida on Oct. 22, 2012

Transcript of President Barack Obama’s remarks on Iran’s nuclear program: 

Moderator Bob 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?

President Barack 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.

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2 Comments on “Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama on Iran’s nuclear program

  1. Pingback: Third presidential debate transcript: Mitt Romney on increasing military spending | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Third presidential debate transcript: President Barack Obama on Pakistan & violent extremism | What The Folly?!

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