Likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama told supporters Iran is just a “tiny” country at a campaign stop in Oregon Sunday evening.
"Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama said.
Obama’s rivals, including his fellow Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton, have criticized Obama for his willing to meet with Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain issued a strong retort to Obama's assessment at a stop in Chicago on Monday. "The biggest national security challenge the United States currently faces is keeping nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists," McCain said. "Should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, that danger would become very dire, indeed. They might not be a superpower, but the threat the Government of Iran poses is anything but "'tiny.'"
Combative exchanges between Obama and McCain over negotiations with Iran dominated the media’s coverage of the 2008 election last week. From the podium of the National Rifle Association’s national conference McCain said, “I have some news for Senator Obama: Talking, not even with soaring rhetoric, in unconditional meetings with the man who calls Israel a 'stinking corpse' and arms terrorists who kill Americans will not convince Iran to give up its nuclear program.
“It is reckless to suggest that unconditional meetings will advance our interests," McCain said.
Obama seemed to brush off these concerns about Iran’s threats while campaigning in Oregon. “Iran, they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance,” Obama said.