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APEC briefs

For Monday, November 14, 2011

By Associated Press


President vows to help keep Iran from nuclear arms

Defending his efforts to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, President Barack Obama said Sunday that economic sanctions against Tehran have had "enormous bite" and that he will consult with other nations on additional steps to ensure that Iran does not acquire an atomic weapon.

Obama expressed confidence that Russia and China in particular understand the threat a nuclear-armed Iran would pose, and said their leaders agree that Iran cannot weaponize its nuclear power and trigger an arms race in the region.

The president, at a news conference that closed an Asia-Pacific economic summit, did not specifically say he would consider military action if Tehran were to persist.

But he added, "We are not taking any options off the table. Iran with nuclear weapons would pose a threat not only to the region, but also to the United States."

For the president, the news conference was his first opportunity to address a report Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency providing new evidence that Iran's nuclear program includes clandestine efforts to build a bomb.

The report, circulated among the U.N. watchdog agency's member countries, alleges Iran has been working to acquire equipment and weapons design information, testing high explosives and detonators, and developing computer models of a warhead's core.

Taken together, it's the most unequivocal evidence yet that the Iranian program ranges far beyond enriching uranium for use in energy and medical research, which is what Tehran says is its intention.

Obama laments Penn State abuse as ‘heartbreaking'

President Barack Obama says the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has an important message for institutions far beyond college sports: that protecting children is more important than shielding institutions.

Obama has called the case, which ended the career of longtime head coach Joe Paterno, "heartbreaking."

Paterno and other school officials were faulted for not doing enough after allegations that an assistant coach abused young boys.

At a news conference Sunday after the APEC summit on Oahu, Obama said college athletic programs are fun and can be important.

But he said the excitement they generate shouldn't get in the way of protecting vulnerable youngsters.

And he says the lesson is that when people see something wrong, they have to "step up."

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