Mar. 6 - Obama says he will ''not countenance'' Iran getting a nuclear weapon and pushes back on suggestions Washington is close to making a decision about military action. Deborah Gembara reports.
It was a day that put in sharp focus the issue of military action on Iran. Republicans spent most of the morning telling a pro-Israel lobby group that the the U.S. should not rule it out. SOUNDBITE: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying: "As President, I will be ready to engage in diplomacy. But I will be just as ready to engage our military might. Israel will know that America stands at its side, in all conditions and in all consequence." At the White House, president Barack Obama also took aim at the issue. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "We will not we will not countenance Iran getting a nuclear weapon. My policy is not containment. My policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, because if they get a nuclear weapon that could trigger an arms race in the region, it would undermine our nonproliferation goals, it could potentially fall into the hands of terrorists. And we've been in close consultation with all our allies, including Israel, in moving this strategy forward. At this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically." He also responded to Republican suggestions of timidity on the matter. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "I think there's no doubt that those who are suggesting or proposing or beating the drums of war should explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be. I'm not one of those people." Obama also announced that six world powers have accepted an Iranian offer for talks. His comments come a day after meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that were intended to present a unified front on Iran. Netanyahu, wrapping up a trip to Washington with a visit to to Capital Hill, has assured the U.S. that Israel has made no decision regarding a preemptive attack on Iranian nuclear sites ... but has given no signs of ruling out the option of military strikes. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.