Under fire from Republican presidential candidates for failing to contain Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions, the White House offered a robust defense of its policies, even as President Obama began the potentially arduous process of trying persuade the leaders of Russia and China to take further actions.
At a news conference Sunday after the APEC summit in Hawaii, Obama didn't specify those measures -- and said he's still not taking any options off the table.
Obama said Russia and China share America's goal of making sure Iran doesn't build the bomb. But both countries have said they oppose new sanctions.
Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii, that “in the previous eight years before President Obama took office, you saw Iran go from having zero centrifuges spinning to thousands of centrifuges spinning. At the point in time when we took office, the international community was divided as it relates to Iran, and Iran was internally united. Today, we see the international community united in applying pressure on Iran, and we see unprecedented internal divisions within Iran’s political system.”
"The sanctions against Iran that President Obama pushed to have implemented have applied so much pressure that the Iranian economy has ground to a halt.”
“The information within the IAEA reports tells a factual story of a government that’s not meeting its obligations, And in that context, it’s necessary for the international community to respond. I think the Russians and the Chinese understand that. And we’re going to be working with them to formulate that response.”
"The United States will work with European and Asian partners … to significantly dial up pressure."
"All options are on the table in terms of our interest in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons...I think that what we want to do is we want to solve the challenge. And so, again, I don’t think you solve a serious foreign policy challenge through rhetoric alone.”