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Obama at UN: U.S. will Stop Iran from Developing Nukes

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

NEW YORK — Speaking at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, President Obama portrayed the deaths of four Americans in Libya as a result of inflamed tensions over an anti-Islam movie produced in the U.S., rather than a terrorist attack.

Although his administration in recent days acknowledged that the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were caused by a terrorist act on Sept. 11, Mr. Obama didn’t mention terrorism as the likely cause in front of the international audience. He focused much of his speech instead on promoting religious tolerance and free speech, blaming the anti-Islam film for the anti-U.S. outbursts while cautioning that there is never an excuse for violence.

“I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video,” Mr. Obama said. “The answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.

“Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views — even views that we disagree with.”

Downplaying the role of terrorism in the Libya attack was yet another shift in the president’s explanation for the violence. In the days after the assault, the administration blamed the film. Then last week, U.S. officials began to acknowledge that the attack bore the signs of terrorism.

The Libyan prime minister said the attack on the U.S. Consulate was planned. And the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said there was reason to believe that al Qaeda or its affiliates had carried out the killings.

Even on Monday, while filming a segment of “The View” in New York, Mr. Obama indicated it was the work of terrorists.

“There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action,” Mr. Obama said.

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, came during anti-U.S. protests that have roiled the Middle East over the past two weeks, calling into question Mr. Obama’s less stern approach to foreign policy in the Muslim world. Mr. Obama said the U.S. “will never retreat from the world.”

“The events of the last two weeks speak to the need for all of us to address honestly the tensions between the West and an Arab World moving to democracy,” he said. “Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not, and will not, seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad, and we do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue. Nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks, or the hateful speech by some individuals, represents the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims — any more than the views of the people who produced this video represent those of Americans.”

But he added that leaders in every country have an obligation “to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.”

“It is time to marginalize those who — even when not resorting to violence — use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel as a central principle of politics,” he said. “For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes excuses, for those who resort to violence. That brand of politics — one that pits East against West; South against North; Muslim against Christian, Hindu, and Jew — cannot deliver the promise of freedom. Burning an American flag will do nothing to educate a child. Smashing apart a restaurant will not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an Embassy won’t create a single job. That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together: educating our children and creating the opportunities they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.”

A few blocks away in New York, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized the administration’s handling of foreign policy in the Middle East and outlined a proposal to improve Arab economies by encouraging U.S. investment and trade. Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative, Mr. Romney said a lack of opportunity is at the heart of tensions in the region.

“Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy–free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation,” Mr. Romney said.

Mr. Obama started his address to the General Assembly by telling the story of Mr. Steven’s life, and his commitment to helping people in Libya.

“I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America,” Mr. Obama said. “He acted with humility, but stood up for a set of principles — a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity. The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America.”

Mr. Obama also said the United States “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited,” Mr. Obama will say, in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. “Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pressing Mr. Obama to take a tougher stand on Iran, which is under international sanctions pushed by the Obama administration. The tension between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama over the issue has escalated in recent months.

Dave Boyer

September 25, 2012

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/8oarelt

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During his speech at the UN General Assembly Tuesday, President Obama defended continuing efforts by the U.S. to block Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. The President went on to say that “America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy and we believe there is still time and space to do so, but that time is not unlimited.”

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