Rhodes: Syria's Assad "has to go"

With tensions running high in the Middle East, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell that the United States will continue to pressure the Syrian and Iranian governments.

Asked about the situation in Syria, Rhodes told O'Donnell the U.S. is ready to "work with every country that will join us" in pressuring Assad to step down through increased sanctions, political support and humanitarian aid. According to Rhodes, the White House doesn't believe that American military support currently "makes sense," but he acknowledged that Assad has "lost control of his country" and "has to go." (watch the full interview in the player above)

Turning to Iran, Rhodes responded to claims by Iran's ambassador to Moscow that his country is capable of carrying out military strikes against the U.S.

"The Iranians often bluster, often overstate their own capabilities," Rhodes said.

He also expressed confidence in the United States' ability to monitor nuclear activity in Iran, noting that "if Iran were to try to break out and take their nuclear materials and build a weapon, we would see that." Rhodes believes there is "time and space right now" for diplomacy "rooted in the strong pressure that we put on the Iranian government."

Note: Ben Rhodes is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes.

FACE to FACE is the midweek web show for CBS News' FACE the NATION with Bob Schieffer. Each Wednesday, Schieffer sits down with a newsmaker to talk about the news driving the week, and the interview is featured at cbsnews.com/facethenation. This week, CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell substituted for Bob Schieffer.


  • Emily Bradley

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