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NEW: McCain calls Obama's willingness to talk to Iran's president "reckless"
Obama noted that presidents talked to the Soviet leaders during the Cold War
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(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain Monday faulted Sen. Barack Obama for downplaying the threat from Iran and again called the Democratic front-runner's judgment "reckless," the latest jabs in a foreign policy fight that could continue to the general election.
Sen. John McCain called Sen. Barack Obama's foreign policy toward Iran "reckless."
"Senator Obama claimed that the threat Iran poses to our security is 'tiny' compared to the threat once posed by the former Soviet Union," McCain said during a speech in Chicago. "Obviously, Iran isn't a superpower and doesn't possess the military power the Soviet Union had, but that does not mean that the threat posed by Iran is insignificant.
"Should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, that danger would become very dire, indeed," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said.
McCain was reacting to a statement Obama made in Pendleton, Oregon, Sunday night while he was defending his view that he would step up diplomatic engagements with Iran -- potentially up to the presidential level -- if he became president.
Obama noted that Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan talked to the Soviet leaders during the Cold War, and, unlike the Soviet Union, the U.S. could easily overwhelm Iran's military, which Obama said spends "one one-hundredth" of what the U.S. spends on its military.
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"Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union," Obama said. "They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us, and yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we're going to wipe you off the planet.
"We should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. We might not compromise on any issue, but at least we should find out are there areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that have caused us so many problems around the world," Obama said.
McCain said Obama's willingness to sit down with the Iranian president demonstrates Obama's lack of understanding of international relations.
"Such a statement betrays the depth of Senator Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment," McCain said. "Those are very serious deficiencies for an American president to possess."
McCain's attacks on Obama are a continuation of a bitter fight over foreign policy that erupted between the two candidates last week.
In a previous exchange, McCain blasted Obama for what he described as the Democrat's willingness to engage in unconditional talks with Hamas, an Islamic fundamentalist group the U.S. has labeled as a terrorist organization.
A note from Radarsite: For someone whose had difficulty getting excited about the McCain campaign, this was a welcome and encouraging sign. Right on John McCain! This was your finest hour. Straight-talking, forthright and unequivocal. Damn! That's what we're talking about! This issue is so important, so critical, that it overrides almost all of the other issues in the campaign. And your strong stance on this growing crisis shows us the kind of presidential leadership we are yearning for, and overrides many of those other questionable positions you have held on other issues in the past.
We desperately want to believe in you John McCain; you are our only hope. And forceful speeches like today's are beginning to give us the confidence in you that we so sorely need. Good work, Sen. McCain. This is the McCain we need to see.
Keep it up and get even stronger.
We need your strength now more than ever.
Best wishes for the coming months,
2 days ago McCain’s Shining Moment: His Best Speech Yet
Cross posted from CNN.com McCain slams Obama for downplaying threat from Iran Story Highlights NEW: McCain calls Obama’s willingness to talk to Iran’s president "reckless" Obama noted that presidents talked to