US President Barack Obama gave an address to the UN General Assembly in New York Tuesday. He told world leaders it was their "obligation" to forcefully condemn violence and extremism, citing the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens as an example.
The President began his speech with a remembrance of Mr. Stevens, CNN reports.
Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya was killed along with three other Americans when militants attacked the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11.
Obama also called the anti-Muslim video that sparked recent protests and attack "cruel and disgusting," but he also defended the right to freedom of speech, even in cases where views we "strongly disagree with" are expressed, The AP reports.
The President also reiterated that the United States would not allow Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons.
According to BBC News, Obama said the US would "do what we must" to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. A nuclear armed-Iran is "not a challenge that can be contained," he said. He warned that it would threaten the existence of the state of Israel and weaken security in Gulf Nations.
He warned that the time to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis was running out, The AP reports.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has repeatedly criticized President Obama for being too lenient on Iran, and "turning his back on Israel." Romney also has very little faith that Israel and Palestine could ever find peace. The President, however, still believes in using diplomacy, but made it clear that if diplomacy doesn't work in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the US and other Western powers will have to take a different course.
He has also repeatedly pledged the US' unconditional support for Israel.
Six weeks away from the 2012 US presidential election, Obama also warned Syria and Iran that their leaders are on the "losing end of a sweeping tide of democracy in the region," CNN reports.
"In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people," Obama said. He also criticized Iran for "propping up a dictatorship in Damascus," which has restricted the freedoms of Syrian citizens and has strengthened terrorist groups around the world.
French President Francoise Hollande echoed Obama's sentiments that the current Syrian regime has "no future," BBC News reports. He pledged to recognize a new government in Syria as soon as it's formed.
Syria was not formally on the General Assembly's agenda, but the US leader felt it was important to discuss the conflict there which has been going on for 18 months.
Obama said it was time to relegate those who use "hatred against America, the West, or Israel as a central principal of politics."