News24

Obama: Iran will play victim if attacked

2012-03-02 22:15

Washington - US President Barack Obama warned a premature attack on Iran would allow it to play the "victim" in the nuclear crisis, in remarks published on Friday days before he meets Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

In some of his toughest comments yet on Tehran's nuclear drive, Obama also warned Israel and Iran should take seriously possible US action against Iranian nuclear facilities if sanctions fail to stop the country's atomic ambitions.

"I think that the Israeli government recognises that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff," Obama told the Atlantic Monthly magazine.

"I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognise that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."

Netanyahu arrived in Canada early on Friday ahead of discussions Monday with Obama at the White House, and the Israeli leader this week said Iran's nuclear programme will be "at the centre of our talks".

Netanyahu's government has maintained that all options remain on the table with regard to action on Iran, but Obama issued a blunt warning against an premature strike.

"At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally [Syria] is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?" Obama said.

Even if Israel were not a specific target of Iran's wrath, Obama said "it would still be a profound national-security interest of the United States to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

He also spoke of the "profound" risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into terrorists' hands, and warned of "the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world, one that is rife with unstable governments and sectarian tensions.

"And it would also provide Iran the additional capability to sponsor and protect its proxies in carrying out terrorist attacks because they are less fearful of retaliation," he said.

Comments
  • Gary - 2012-03-03 01:21

    Iran would, in fact, be a victim if the US attacked it. Israel and the US are the countries with huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Iran has not yet built a weapon. Which countries have committed the most atrocities against the world? Israel and the USA.

      Oneant - 2012-03-03 03:57

      Yep. But thanks to Reuters and CNN, everyone is told to believe differently.

      Phoenix - 2012-03-03 06:49

      I agree. The US officially stil has something in the region of 8000 nuclear warheads - and is the ONLY country on earth two have detonated an atomic weapon to kill millions of people - twice.

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 08:04

      Even Britain is spending 2 billion to make new nukes (Trident system) in violation of the non-proliferation treaty, the US is "recycling theirs and I presume Israel is doing likewise and yet Iran which so far hasn't violated the NPT is being demonised because the world police think that some day in the unknown future they might develop the CAPABILITY to manufacture nuclear weapons. Note how the language has changed from developing nuclear weapons to developing a capability. Lying liars and their damn lies.....

      Fred - 2012-03-03 08:24

      The Iranian regime is a terrorist state. It has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and denies the occurrence of the Holocaust, the largest single attempt at genocide in the history of humanity, six million Jewish people. It will NEVER be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Nor should it be. What did you mean when you said Israel is a refuge for the Jews and a giant bull's eye?

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 08:54

      There is no law preventing people form being skeptical about the so called six million figure as there's no proof about this number. The intl Red Cross has its own number. Believing in something that there's no proof for falls somewhere between religion and delusion. The biggest genocide happened to the Native Americans and Aboriginal people. Ahmedinejad express desire to wipe out the Zionist regime as calls have been made in the past in history for the soviet and apartheid regimes to be destroyed. Both the Russians and the Afrikaners are still here today. If Israel continues with its posturing, aggression and physically attacks Iran then thousands of Hamas and Hizbollah rockets will once and for all show that Israel, rather than a refuge for the Jews, is a giant bull's eye. This is self explanatory and you won't get any entertainment from me in future regarding this.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 09:35

      I think it's clear to all clear-thinking people you're a VERY delusional person, and a heartless one at that. To debate exactly how many Jewish people were killed is so small-minded it's hard to describe. MILLIONS of Jewish people were targets and killed in the matter of a few years. It is by all accounts (except to you, Ahmedinejad, Robert Mugabe and a few other nut cases) the single biggest attempt at genocide in human history. This does not diminish other attempts at genocide. It's just a fact. Ahemdniejad ha threatened several times to wipe ISRAEL off the face of the earthy, and has denied the occurrence of the Holocaust ALTOGETHER. This is who you're supporting. And you want sensible people to believe what you say? Not going to happen. Ever. What's also not going to happen, EVER, is the cowardly Middle East dictators being victorious against Israel. For two reasons: Israel is buy far the strongest, smartest power in the region and has the support of the strongest powers on Earth; and the dictators are disappearing fast, being removed by their own people who have had enough of being oppressed. When they're gone, and this own't be too long now, Palestinians will have their homeland. They won't be used by these dictators as a decoy for their oppressive, unelected ways.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 09:39

      You're calling for the elimination of Israel by the Palestinians. This is further testimony of your small-mindedness and heartlessness. Yet you say NOTHING about the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS killed by suicide bombers and car bombers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and places round the world by Muslim extremists. NOTHING.

      nowicki1 - 2012-03-03 14:55

      Fred the more you comment the MORE RIDICULOUS you sound, just stop.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 17:50

      I know I'm on the right track when dark people like you think I'm wrong and want me to stop

  • Boichoko Dichaba - 2012-03-03 07:57

    Why should US and Israel play the deciding figure in autonomous states on how they should handle their security an yet again the US and israel be allowed to have a massive stock pile of nuclear weapons. My real question is are the paying grounds equal or the same with all the other countries or they should play god until the end of time

      Fred - 2012-03-03 08:28

      Iran is run by a rogue regime that altered the results of the last election, and violently put down peaceful demonstrations. Imagine if this happened in South Africa. What would you think? It is run by extremists who think nothing of having women stoned to death for just being being attractive. It has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and denies the occurrence of the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at genocide in human history: six million Jewish people. The Iranian regime absolutely should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Th entire freer world is clear on this. The Iranian people deserve to be free.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-03 08:42

      Fred, there are severe human rights violations in so many countries. Somehow it's only when there's oil involved that it's taken seriously.

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-03 08:59

      Fred it is clear you have a particular agenda. who decides a rogue state and what is a rogue state. I can say that the US is a rogue state. interferred in SE Asia and got hte arses whipped. Inteferred in Iraq under the pretense of lies to gain control of oil and more than 10 years later no democracy there, went into Afghanistan ostensibly to install a democracy and tell me that was succesful. So it is time you clear the sleep grime out of your eyes. Furthrmore, to say the china, Russia are rogues ...lies and more lies. China is the world's biggest economy and came from nowhere really. And as someone else said, that it is OK for you to have a gun and long as your neighbor doesnt carry one and you make sure he doesnt have one.

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 09:00

      It is Israel, the US and its side kicks that are run by rogue regimes who have both perverted intl law in disregard to their own commitments.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 09:43

      Stormkaap, you can say whatever you want, but that doesn't mean it's accurate. China is not the world's biggest economy. The US is, by far, notwithstanding that it has one-third the population of China's. And you think the Chinese are productive. Think about this statistic. The US has made mistakes, no questions about that. But to describe it as a rogue regime relative to the Russian and Chinese regimes (distinct from the Russian and Chinese people) is so far of a stretch as to make it completely wrong. Russian and Chinese regimes have the worst human rights records of any country on Earth, having killed TENS OF MILLIONS of their own citizens. Get it now?

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-03 12:36

      Fred you really are blinkered.. How many have the Americans killed in SE Asia, Afghnistan and Irag and Panama etc, so dont talk about human rights.As for your figure of millions depends on where u get your info on. Pro American historians will tel u that. At that rate no one will be left in their resoective countries. As someone else said above you have huge difficulty in being objective. Well that is OK with you killing in many instances civilians. As for the economy go have a good look. What is more between China and India in the near future USA wont be that greater force any more. Dont forget who supported the SA govt in their fight in Angola and namibia and i suppose in your eyes that was pro democratic support.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 17:55

      I recommend you re-read what I wrote. To every clear-thinking person, the US is a far more advanced democracy than Russia and China. This is beyond obvious. It also has a far stronger human rights record than these two regimes that have killed tens of millions of their citizens. This is recorded fact. You just have to read. China's economy is smaller than that of the US. Fact. I do agree that the world is becoming multi-polar (if that's what you mean). I think this a good thing.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-03-03 08:34

    Iran will be a victim if the US attacks it. How many more innocent civillians will be killed? Iraq,Afghanistan and now Iran? Maybe Iran wants oil to protect it's oil from western powers.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-03 08:38

      Maybe Iran wants nuclear power to protect it's oil.

      chris.huckle - 2012-03-03 08:54

      Nuclear weapons are an offensive, first-strike, weapon. There is no defensive purpose. I agree that no-one should have them, but arguing that because one country does then all countries should is just silly.

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 09:15

      @Chris Nonsense, nuclear weapons are a deterrent, they ensure that your country doesn't get attacked, hence the principle of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). The people of the ME want Iran to have a nuclear bomb, because they are looking for a power which can stop the continuous interference and aggression by the West against them. If the nuclear bomb is the only possible deterrent against an attack by the West, so hope they get it soon before it is too late.

      henk63 - 2012-03-03 09:29

      The way I see it, the US does have nuclear weapons but are not really willing to use them. They know about international condemnation. On the other hand, if Iran has the Bomb they will be more than willing to use it. It will be like a kid with a gun. Remember when they blew up the Buddhist statues? They wasted nary a thought on the correctness or results of their actions, and it will be the same if they have nuclear weapons. The possibilities are too scary.

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 09:43

      @Henk It was the Afghans that blew up Buddhist statues. Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told the US congress that Iran is a "rational" player and should be treated as such. No one in the intelligence community believes that the Iranian mullahs have a death wish, nor would common sense suggest they that do. "Mad mullahs" is just a propaganda term to keep simpletons from thinking too much. The mullahs are self-interested elites whose actions are perfectly explicable and rational with respect to their desire to pursue their own self-interest. Knock it off.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 09:45

      "The people of the Middle East want Iran to have a nuclear weapon". No, Fidel wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon. You don't speak for the 500 million or so people of the Middle East. Boy, talk about a big, delusional Ego.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-03 10:02

      @Henk, you remember Hirosjima,Nagasaki,Iraq's never-found weapons of mass destruction. Why do you think Iran will use their weapons- because they're scary Muslims?

      Larry - 2012-03-03 10:39

      If you had an inkling of the Muslim psychology, then you would be very scared. The Muslim sense of 'honor' from a religious and cultural perspective is a palpable thing. Do fathers and brothers in non-muslim cultures murder their wives and daughters to correct a stain on family honor, because they were raped? All of Islam is continuously humiliated by the success and continued existence of israel, even after being attacked several times by vastly bigger Arab nations and armies, which has just compounded their humiliation. To Islam, Israel makes the Muslim religion and their god look weak, ineffectual and false. Do not expect a rational response from islamic countries, spearheaded by Iran when it comes to future conflicts with Israel. They will be prepared to sacrifice millions of innocents to prove that their 'god is great' and for no other reason. This is a terrorist mindset and there can be only one victor emerging from the coming firestorm.

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 11:36

      Muslims are not a homogenous group, there are many strands of opinion. I'm impressed with your ignorant capacity to stereotype 100s of million people, most of whom you've never met. There is no difference between the extremes of religion, be it Christian, Zionist or Islamist. The world has a far more problem confronting it, it's called Christian Zionist Fundamentalism, who think they have a right to push their religious bigotry around the world, with the bomb and the bullet if necessary.

      Boer - 2012-03-03 12:33

      And the muslim clan is doing it with their bombs. Fidel: why don't you move to an islam country so thst you can experience it first hand? See, moe you have freedom of speech, there it is a different story all together. I'll pay for your container.

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-03 12:39

      Larry, you read too much TIME magazines!

      Fidel - 2012-03-03 12:39

      There are Muslims in this country and they are not bombing anyone. I am an African who is attached to this country and continent and have no wish of living anywhere else in the world. Why don't you go and live in Israel?

      Fred - 2012-03-03 18:04

      Why don't you speak out about the Muslims who are bombing civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and many other parts of the world? You're so vocal against the freer world, that has clear principles of freedom of religion, human rights, and democracy, and goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. It's glaring.

  • Sharon - 2012-03-03 09:18

    Reading these comments you actually realize how little people know about what goes on out there in the real world. Money, greed, politics, oil. List goes on. And if you think the rest of the world (and America) did not have anything to do with South Africa's new democracy, think again. Suggest you watch a movie called "the world without US"

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-03 09:28

      South Africa is a democracy now and the rest of the world helped with that. That does not justify repeatedly invading oil-rich countries in the Middle East and the deaths of innocent civillians in the process.

      Heinrich - 2012-03-03 10:07

      Adil..South Africa isn't a democracy, it's a divided country. And the world only assisted in getting rid of apartheid for their own interests. And the American Government will always remain power-greedy until it falls as an 'empire' and the vacuum is filled by another 'empire', China in this case.

  • John - 2012-03-03 09:48

    Stupid speech!...Iran would not be PLAYING the victim if attacked!...Iran would BE the victim if attacked by Israel or USA!

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-03 12:40

      John at least you are seeing things the way it is. Its like being the victim of crime and then you get labelled the perpetrator

      Fred - 2012-03-03 17:58

      You're both wrong. The Iranian regime has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and denies the occurrence of the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at genocide in human history. It funds terrorism and gives an endless supply of (Russian-made) arms to the Palestinians, inciting them to violence in order to distract Iranians from their disenfranchised state. "The hard core of the reformists are boycotting the elections. Their two main leaders, Mr Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, have been under house arrest for more than a year. Others are in prison or have withdrawn from politics." News24 This is what you're supporting. So much for being South Africans. You're supporting an Apartheid-like regime.

  • Heinrich - 2012-03-03 10:02

    And could he please justify why the US may have a nuclear arsenal?

      Fred - 2012-03-03 18:00

      Because it is a democracy that holds freedom of religion and human rights as high ideals.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-04 12:13

      And why is the US not against China having nuclear power? And is Guantanamo Bay within the Geneva convention and what is internationally considered to be humane treatment?

  • Infor Mation - 2012-03-03 12:08

    america be a bully , they have nuclear weapons why dont they destroy it. just hope Ron Paul wins the us elections

      Fred - 2012-03-03 18:02

      You really should read up more, and understand that you're supporting an Apartheid-like regime in Iran. The US and freer world is helping the people of the Middle East to have THE RIGHT TO VOTE. Remember that? Remember what is was like for South Africans who did not have this right?

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-04 23:56

    Offcourse Irans are humanbeings too...if they are attacked, then the rest of the world(excluding US and Israel) will stand by their side.

      Fred - 2012-03-09 17:22

      It's important to distinguish between the rogue Iranian regime that adjusts elections to hold onto power, and the Iranian people.

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