National Public Radio presidential debate

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, I think Iran continues to be a threat to some of its neighbors in the region, so they're still funding Hamas, they're still funding Hezbollah, and those are things we have to be concerned about. But it is absolutely clear that this administration and President Bush continues to not let facts get in the way of his ideology. And that's been the problem with their foreign policy generally. They should have stopped the saber-rattling, should have never started it, and they need now to aggressively move on the diplomatic front.

I have said consistently since the beginning of this campaign that it is important for the president to lead diplomatic efforts, to try to offer to Iran the prospect of joining the World Trade Organization, potential normalized relations over time, in exchange for changes in behavior. That's something that has to be pursued.

SIEGEL: Senator Chris Dodd.

SEN. CHRIS DODD: Well, again, this is 16 agencies that have drawn this conclusion, it wasn't just one. So it's a very compelling case that's been made here for exercising caution and pursuing what I've advocated, and others have as well, and that is, pursuing as much of a diplomatic solution to the problems that Iran poses. And there are some. It would be foolish to say otherwise here.

But the important point is we can't do this unilaterally. And that's one of the dangers here. If we really try to impose sanctions by ourselves or other such efforts here, they will fail. It's very important to understand the linkage, obviously, not only between Iran, but Iraq and Iran, and our ability to build this kind of international support for efforts to convince Iran on a variety of issues to move in a different direction is being seriously compromised by our continued military presence in Iraq.

So there needs to be not only understanding what's written in this report, but simultaneously understanding that that more multilateral approach is going to be hobbled and difficult as long as we find ourselves bogged down in the Iraq situation.

SIEGEL: Thank you, Senator Dodd.

Senator Joseph Biden.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN: With all due respect with anybody who thinks that pressure brought this about, let's get this straight. In 2003, they stopped their program.

You cannot trust this president. He is not trustworthy. He has undermined our security in the region. He has undermined our credibility in the world. He has made it more difficult to get cooperation from the rest of the world. He has caused oil to go up roughly $25 a barrel with a security premium because of his threat of war.

It is outrageous, intolerable, and it must stop. The president of the United States — it was like watching a rerun of his statement on Iraq five years earlier. This — Iran is not a nuclear threat to the United States of America. Iran should be dealt with directly with the rest of the world at our side, but we've made it more difficult now because who is going to trust us? Who in Europe, who in China, who in Russia? It's outrageous.

SIEGEL: Thank you, Senator Biden.

Senator John Edwards.

MR. JOHN EDWARDS: Thank you.

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