WASHINGTON - Iran is a “major threat” and it would be “unacceptable” for the rogue nation to develop a nuclear weapon, Barack Obama said Thursday.
During his first-ever interview on FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor", the Democratic presidential candidate said, "It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon; it would be a game changer."
Obama said he would not take military action off the table in dealing with Iran, but added that diplomacy and sanctions cannot be overlooked.
“It’s sufficient to say I would not take military action off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and the United States’ interests,” he said.
Obama accused the Bush Administration of bringing radical Islamic groups together, and said Iran "fueled a whole host of terrorist organizations, but we have to have the ability to distinguish between groups. … They may not all be part and parcel of the same ideology.”
Obama also told FOX News he “absolutely” believes the US is fighting a war on terror against “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, a whole host of networks that are bent on attacking America, who have a distorted ideology, who have perverted the faith of Islam.”
'Five years of mismanagement'
He repeated his campaign’s foreign policy position that Afghanistan must become the “central front” in the war on terror.
During the interview Obama, who was against the US troop surge in Iraq, admitted that it has "succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated" but refused to retract his initial opposition to the surge. “I’ve already said it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams,” he said.
However, Obama added that the US has not had enough “political reconciliation” and Iraqis still have not taken responsibility for their country.
“We have gone through five years of mismanagement of this war that I thought was disastrous, and the president wanted to double down and continue an open-ended policy (that did not put pressure on the Iraqi government),” he said.
Obama said he would not take military action off the table in dealing with Iran, but diplomacy and sanctions can’t be overlooked.
According to a new CBS News poll conducted this week, the presidential race between Obama and John McCain is now even at 42 percent. Twelve percent are undecided according to the poll, and one percent said they wouldn't vote.
This is in contrast to a poll conducted last weekend, where the Obama-Biden ticket led McCain-Palin by eight points, 48 percent to 40 percent.