On al Arabiyah. And after the usual pablum (George Mitchell is a great man, George Bush was a rude dolt, I know something about Islam having lived in the largest Muslim country, and so forth), the interviewer asks a straightforward question:
Q Will the United States ever live with a nuclear Iran? And if not, how far are you going in the direction of preventing it?
Obama hits the dance floor:
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I said during the campaign that it is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of U.S. power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran.
Now, the Iranian people are a great people, and Persian civilization is a great civilization. Iran has acted in ways that’s not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region: their threats against Israel; their pursuit of a nuclear weapon which could potentially set off an arms race in the region that would make everybody less safe; their support of terrorist organizations in the past — none of these things have (sic) been helpful.
But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress. And we will over the next several months be laying out our general framework and approach. And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.
In simple English: I dunno.