Senator Barack Obama Addresses AIPAC Policy Conference

June 4, 2008

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


Now there’s no greater threat to Israel or to the peace and the stability of the region than Iran. This audience is made up of both Republicans and Democrats and the enemies of Israel should have no doubt that regardless of Party, Americans stand shoulder to shoulder in our commitment to Israel’s security, so while I don’t want to strike a two-partisan a note here today I do want to address some willfull
mischaracterizations of my position. The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race and raise
the prospect of a transfer of nuc lear know-how to terrorists. Its President denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is grave; it is real; and my goal will be to eliminate this threat. But just as we are clear-eyed about the threat we must be clear about the failure of
today’s policy. We knew in 2002 that Iran supported terrorism, we knew that Iran had an illicit nuclear
program, we knew Iran posed a grave threat to Israel; but instead of pursuing a strategy to address this
threat we ignored it and instead invaded and occupied Iraq. When I opposed the War I warned that it
would fan the flames of extremism in the Middle East; that is precisely what happened in Iran. The hardliners tightened their grip and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President in 2005. And the United
States and Israel are less secure. I respect Senator McCain and I look forward to a substantive debate with him these next five months but on this point we have differed and we will differ. Senator McCain refuses to understand or acknowledge the failure of the policy he would continue. He criticizes my
willingness to use strong diplomacy but offers only an alternative--reality, one where the War in Iraq has
somehow put Iran on its heels. The truth is the opposite. Iran has strengthened its position; Iran is now enriching uranium and it has reportedly stockpiled 150 kilos of low enriched uranium. Its support for terrorism and threats towards Israel has increased; those are the facts and they cannot be denied and I refuse to continue a policy that has made the United States and Israel less secure.