FACT CHECK: President Obama Standing Up to Iran, Romney Has No Plan

FACT CHECK: President Obama Standing Up to Iran, Romney Has No Plan

Contrary to what Mitt Romney said in his speech tonight, President Obama has made it clear he will take no options off the table in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In addition to applying the harshest sanctions Iran has ever faced and maintaining a robust diplomatic effort to build a collation to isolate Iran’s leaders, President Obama has made it clear containment is not his policy and that the military option is on the table. Meanwhile, Romney has failed to suggest anything he would do that President Obama isn’t already doing.


President Obama Said He Will “Take No Options Off The Table” In Preventing Iran From Acquiring Nuclear Weapons, Including “A Military Effort.” “I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power:  A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.” [Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy Conference, 4/4/12]

President Obama Has Made It Clear That He Does Not Have A “Policy Of Containment,” But A “Policy To Prevent Iran From Obtaining A Nuclear Weapon. “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.” [Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy Conference, 4/4/12]


The Obama Administration Has Implemented the Toughest Sanctions Ever Imposed On The Iranian Government. “The Obama administration has already put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on the Iranian government, including new measures targeting, for the first time, Iran’s entire financial system.” [National Journal, 2/22/12]

June 2010: With President Obama’s Leadership, The United States Gained The Support Of Russia, China And Other Nations To Pass United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, Creating The Most Comprehensive And Biting International Sanctions Regime The Iranian Government Has Ever Faced. “That’s why the international community was compelled to impose these serious consequences.  These are the most comprehensive sanctions that the Iranian government has faced.  They will impose restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and, for the first time, its conventional military.  They will put a new framework in place to stop Iranian smuggling, and crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions.  They target individuals, entities, and institutions -– including those associated with the Revolutionary Guard –- that have supported Iran’s nuclear program and prospered from illicit activities at the expense of the Iranian people.”  [Remarks By The President on United States security Resolution on Iran Sanctions, 06/09/10; United Nations News Centre, 6/9/10]

Ø  Citing Sanctions, Russia Banned All Exports Of Major Weapons Systems To Iran. “Russia interprets the latest round of United Nations sanctions against Iran as prohibiting all exports of major weapons systems to that country, President Dmitri A. Medvedev announced Wednesday, ending some Russian equivocation on whether an advanced air defense system would fall under the ban.” [New York Times, 09/22/10]

June 2010: President Obama Worked With Congress To Strengthen Existing US Sanctions And Make It Harder For The Iranian Government To Buy Refined Petroleum And Other Goods It Needs To Modernize Its Oil And Gas Sector. “Congress on Thursday overwhelmingly passed tough new sanctions against Iran, sending a message to the Tehran government that notions of becoming a nuclear power could be accompanied by a steep economic price. The Senate and House in quick succession approved the penalties that focus on Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard and the country's imports of gas and other refined energy products.”  [Associated Press, 6/24/10]

Ø  President Ahmadinejad Has Been Forced To Admit The Serious Impact Of Sanctions Placed On Government By The Obama Administration. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acknowledged Tuesday that U.S.-designed financial sanctions are causing serious problems for Iran’s banking sector, as he appealed to lawmakers to keep his government together despite a massive embezzlement scandal. ‘Our banks cannot make international transactions anymore,’ the embattled president said in a speech before parliament to defend his minister of economic affairs and finance against impeachment charges related to the scandal.”  [Washington Post, 11/1/11]

Ø  The Iranian Rial Has Lost Over 50% of Its Value Since June 2011, Doubling The Prices Of Many Imports. “The rial, Iran’s currency, lost some value against the dollar and euro in the aftermath of the Moscow talks, partly on expectations that the looming new sanctions on Iran would further impair its economy. The rial has lost over half its value relative to the dollar in the past 12 months, which has doubled prices of many imports.” [New York Times, 6/20/12]



New York Times: “When Pressed On How, Exactly, His Strategy [On Iran] Would Differ From Mr. Obama’s, Mr. Romney Had A Hard Time Responding.”  “Iran may be a first test. Mr. Romney put it pretty bluntly, in another line that caused some of his advisers to cringe and others to celebrate, when he declared late in 2011: ‘If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. If you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.’ But when pressed on how, exactly, his strategy would differ from Mr. Obama’s, Mr. Romney had a hard time responding. The economic sanctions Mr. Obama has imposed have been far more crippling to the Iranian economy than anything President Bush did between the public revelation of Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities in 2003 and the end of Mr. Bush’s term in early 2009. Covert action has been stepped up, too.” [New York Times, 5/12/12]

New York Times’ David Firestone: Romney Said He Would Disarm Iran By Imposing Crippling Sanctions And Keeping Military Options On The Table, Which “Is Exactly What The Obama Administration Has Already Done.” “On Sunday, Mr. Romney said Iran will finish a nuclear weapon if Mr. Obama is re-elected, but not if Mr. Romney defeats him. How, precisely, will he disarm Iran? By imposing crippling sanctions, he said, and keeping a military strike on the table. That, of course, is exactly what the Obama administration has already done (and what the last Republican president did not do well enough). The sanctions now in place are the toughest ever, choking off Iran’s exports.” [David Firestone, New York Times, 3/5/12]

Romney’s Plan To Rein In Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions “Amounts To What President Obama Is Doing.” “To rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Mitt Romney says he would conduct naval exercises in the Persian Gulf to remind Iran of American military might. He would try to ratchet up Security Council sanctions on Iran, targeting its Revolutionary Guards, and the country’s central bank and other financial institutions. And if Russia and China do not go along, he says, the United States should team up with other willing governments to put such punitive measures in place. As it turns out, that amounts to what President Obama is doing.” [New York Times, 3/6/12]