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U.S. Says Iran Weaker Since Obama Took Office


U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon

U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon

U.S. President Barack Obama's top national security aide says Iran has become weaker since Obama took office in January 2009.

Speaking November 22 at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, national security adviser Tom Donilon said Iran’s influence in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world has been reduced by international sanctions designed to punish Iran over its nuclear program, internal divisions among the leadership in Tehran, and the developments of the Arab Spring pro-reform movements.

Donilon also spoke of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran diplomatically and to strengthen U.S. military cooperation with Persian Gulf states as having increased the pressure on the Iranian regime.

"Weakened at home, diminished in the region and isolated in the world -- this is a dramatic shift in Iran's fortunes that has occurred over the last three years,” Donilon said. “In this sense, we have succeeded in changing the dynamic that was at work when President Obama came into office."

Donilon added that he believes there is still time and possibilities to persuade Tehran to abandon any atomic weapons ambitions. Iran denies any effort to build a nuclear bomb.

Donilon's comments came one day after the U.S., Britain and Canada imposed new sanctions on Iran's energy and financial sectors, and two weeks after the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), suggested Iran had engaged in nuclear weapons research.

The U.S. president has recently faced increased criticism from Republican supporters who have called Obama's policy on Iran ineffective.

The U.S. national security adviser's comments also came before a November 22 debate on foreign policy issues among Republican candidates who are seeking the nomination to challenge Obama in the U.S. elections due to be held one year from now.

compiled from agency reports

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