WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama
responded Thursday to the criticism aimed
at him by the Republican presidential hopefuls over his administration's foreign policy.
The GOP's candidates took more than a few stabs at Obama on Wednesday, during a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Washington, where they accused him of being soft on Iran
and over-appeasing vis-à-vis growing radicalism in the Muslim world.
"Ask Osama bin Laden and
the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaeda
leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement," Obama told reporters.
When asked whether Washington intends to "ramp up" the pressure on Iran, Obama replied: "I think it's very important to remember… that this administration has systematically imposed the toughest sanctions on Iran ever.
'Soft' foreign policy? Obama (Photo: MCT)
"When we came into office, the world was divided, Iran was unified and moving aggressively on its own agenda. Today, Iran is isolated, and the world is unified in applying the toughest sanctions that Iran has ever experienced."
When asked about the operational options vis-à-vis Iran, Obama said that "no option is off the table means I’m considering all options." He did not elaborate.
"Iran understands that they have a choice: They can break that isolation by acting responsibly and foreswearing the development of nuclear weapons,
which would still allow them to pursue peaceful nuclear power, like every other country that's a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or they can continue to operate in a fashion that isolates them from the entire world.
"And if they are pursuing nuclear weapons, then I have said very clearly, that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States; it's contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including Israel; and we are going to work with the world community to prevent that," he concluded.