Romney and Obama talk Iran, nuclear program at debates

President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney wrapped up a series of defining debates on Monday night with a bristling exchange over America's place in the world, and other important issues, one of which was Iran and its disputed nuclear program, NY Times reported.


The U.S. and Israel suspect Iran of making a nuclear bomb, a statement that Iran denies, claiming its nuclear program is completely peaceful, oriented for medical and research purposes.


Mitt Romney pinned the cascading crises around the world on Barack Obama's shoulders, saying the president had failed to live up to his promises from his 2008 campaign and left the country in a weaker position.


"Look at the record," Mr. Romney said. "You look at the record of the last four years and say: Is Iran closer to a bomb? Yes. Is the Middle East in tumult? Yes. Is Al Qaeda on the run, on its heels? No. Are Israel and the Palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement? No."


The subject of Iran's nuclear program came up repeatedly, as Obama on his part labeled "not true" a report in The New York Times that the United States and Iran have agreed in principle to direct nuclear talks after the elections.


The president later suggested that Mr. Romney had agreed as well: "I'm pleased that you now are endorsing our policy of applying diplomatic pressure and potentially having bilateral discussions with the Iranians to end their nuclear program. But just a few years ago, you said that's something you'd never do."


"As long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon," Obama said at one point.


Both men talked tough on Iran, at one point seeming to compete to show how much each is in the corner of Israel, which considers a nuclear Iran a threat to its existence.


Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appeared to be in favor of strong international sanctions, and both said they would use military power if necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.


Barack Obama was seen as the winner of the final presidential debate with 48 percent of voters who watched the exchange on foreign policy tipping the president as the victor in a CNN poll, dpa reported.


Republican challenger Mitt Romney was viewed as the winner of the debate by 40 percent of respondents.


However, Romney received high marks for being able to handle the role of president, with 60 per cent saying he could serve as commander in chief, just behind Obama at 63 per cent, according to the broadcaster's survey of registered voters who watched the debate.