Obama warns Iran, "time is not unlimited"

The president takes a stern line at the U.N., but does not set Israel's desired deadline on nuclear Iran

Published September 25, 2012 7:33PM (EDT)

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Obama warned Iran that "time is not unlimited" when it comes to a diplomatic solution over nuclear armament.

The president said that a nuclear Iran would “threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy,” and that the U.S. would "do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” He also used the speech to condemn the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya.

The president pushed again for a diplomatic solution on the issue. As such, he took a stern line with Iran, but did not go so far as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had urged last week when he asked Obama to draw a "red line" with Iran over nuclear weapons development.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took his thoughts on the U.S. stance to the press, commenting that "a few occupying Zionists are threatening the government of the United States."

In the president's last scheduled international address before the election, his warning to Iran could be an attempt to foreclose a line of attack that opponent Mitt Romney is attempting to capitalize upon. At the Clinton Global Initiative summit in New York Sunday, Romney said of Obama's policy on Iran and the Middle East in general, that the U.S. is “at the mercy of events rather than shaping events.”

Watch the president's warning to Iran below:

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

MORE FROM Natasha Lennard