Obama to condemn Libya violence as ‘assault’ on UN’s ideals

NEW YORK — President Obama on Tuesday will condemn the recent attack in Libya, saying the violence at the U.S. Consulate earlier this month was "not simply an assault on America" but also "an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded."

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly here, Obama will tell the gathered leaders that "violence and intolerance" like that laid bare by the recent events in Libya, which killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, "has no place among our United Nations." 

"Today, we must affirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers," Obama is expected to say, according to prepared excerpts. "There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan."

The speech comes as foreign policy has made its way back into the national dialogue, just 42 days before Election Day. Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, has sought to portray the president as weak on foreign policy.

Obama will also address the issue of Iran, saying that the U.S. wants to resolve the threat of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic through diplomacy. He is expected to say that the U.S. believes there is "still time and space to do so," a sentiment that the administration has expressed in recent months. But he will seek to explain that "time is not unlimited."

"We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace," Obama is expected to say. "Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy. 

"It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty," Obama is poised to tell world leaders. "That is why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that is why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."