Obama: Teheran 'a genuine threat to US security'

President-elect backs diplomatic talks with Iran; says US will uphold high ideals in fighting terrorism.

obama 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
obama 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
President-elect Barack Obama on Friday repeated his campaign assertion that Teheran "is a genuine threat to US national security." Obama told reporters at a Washington news conference that he would have more to say about the Iranian nuclear program after he is inaugurated. Obama also touted a "practical, pragmatic approach" to concerns about its nuclear development and said once more that he believes diplomacy should be put into play more than it has been in the past. Obama also said his administration will "uphold our highest values and ideals" in its approach to fighting terrorism. He was asked at the conference whether he would continue a policy of harsh interrogation, for instance. Obama replied that he has told CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta and retired Adm. Dennis Blair that he expects the Geneva Conventions to be honored. The president-elect introduced his choices for CIA chief, Panetta, and national intelligence director, Blair, earlier on Friday. Obama described them as men of "unquestioned integrity" and "broad experience" who are "uniquely qualified" for the posts. He said they will help the United States stay ahead of emerging threats. The introduction of Panetta and Blair comes four days after their names were leaked to reporters. There was surprise in Washington over the choice of Panetta for the CIA post. The former White House chief of staff has no direct intelligence experience. Blair is a former head of US Pacific Command who was credited with fighting terrorism in southeast Asia after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.