WASHINGTON -- US President Barack Obama praised international diplomacy for harsher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program than the country has ever before faced in his State of the Union speech.
In an address of more than an hour, Obama focused on the economy, education and the deficit with only passing references to Iraq, Afghanistan and al Qaeda, and no mention at all of the Middle East conflict.
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He did, though, highlight the nuclear threat posed by Iran and North Korea.
“Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher sanctions and tighter sanctions than ever before,” he said. “And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.”
He declared that America would overcome the threat posed by al Qaeda despite its efforts to attack the US.
“In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any
point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from
the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking,” Obama said. “And we
have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to
all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we
will defeat you.”
His vow received a standing ovation, as did his words that as terror
plots were planned against America, the country was responding “with the
strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with
the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American