"We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon." - Mar. 14, 2012
"And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." - Sept. 25, 2012
"Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." - Nov. 23, 2013
"At the top of that list is our work to ensure that Iran does not ever acquire a nuclear weapon." - July 8, 2014
"[W]e seek a comprehensive diplomatic solution to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." - Jan. 16, 2015
"[W]e also had a very useful discussion around Iran and the negotiations that are currently taking place to try to reduce the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Those negotiations are ongoing. I gave the Amir an update and assured him that our goal here is to be able to verify that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon[.]" - Feb. 24, 2015Vice President Biden has made perhaps the most unequivocal statement of anyone in the Obama administration on the subject, telling the Saban Forum in December, "We will not let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon. Period. Period. End of discussion. It will not happen on our watch." But even if Biden himself won two terms in the White House, a ten-year freeze would sunset beyond both his and Barack Obama's "watch."
John Kerry was pressed on the issue while testifying before Congress the same day the president made the softer statement, but Kerry insisted, "The president has made clear — I can't state this more firmly — the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon." However, any details of the deal, Kerry said, will have to wait. "And anybody running around right now, jumping in to say, 'Well, we don't like the deal,' or this or that, doesn't know what the deal is. There is no deal yet. And I caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce."
Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.