Barack Obama
Barack ObamaWhite House

In an interview with TIME Magazine, parts of which were published on the web Wednesday night, U.S. President Barack H. Obama slams Republican critics of his policy on Iran – singling out Mitt Romney, who appears to be the front-runner in the race to become the Republican nominee to run against Obama later this year. Romney has accused Obama of failing to act to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but Obama said in the interview that he was seriously mistaken – on his policy, and on what to do about Iran. Romney's position would not stand up to “a serious debate,” he told TIME's Fareed Zakaria.

Romney stated recently that Iran would definitely be able to build nuclear weapons if Obama was reelected, since the President had done nothing, and would continue to do nothing, to prevent Iran from acquiring the weapons. “I have made myself clear since I began running for the presidency that we will take every step available to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama said, adding “Can we guarantee that Iran takes the smarter path? No, which is why I’ve repeatedly said we don’t take any options off the table in preventing them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

The interview, which will appear in the January 30 edition of TIME, touches on numerous issues that Obama will find himself debating with the Republican candidate as the election draws closer. Obama blamed Congressional Republicans for weakening America's international position, by failing to support some of his domestic policies.

“Our whole foreign policy has to be anchored in economic strength here at home,” Obama said. “And if we are not strong, stable, growing, making stuff, training our work force so that it’s the most skilled in the world, maintaining our lead in innovation, in basic research, in basic science, in the quality of our universities, in the transparency of our financial sector, if we don’t maintain the upward mobility and equality of opportunity that underwrites our politically stability and makes us a beacon for the world, then our foreign policy leadership will diminish as well.” Overall, though, the U.S. is in a stronger position than it was when he entered office, Obama said.