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Candidate Views on Iran

Ron Paul

Summary

Congressman Paul does not support sanctions against Iran, stating that they only harm the poorest people in a nation and are an act of war and a prelude to full blown war. He does not believe that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the US or Israel, and has stated that Iran is not a signatory of nuclear nonproliferation treaty and has abided by the IAEA rules.

In 2006, Congressman Paul opposed sanctions being placed against Iran. He noted that we have attempted sanctions on numerous countries in an effort to force out a dictator and it has never worked. He argues that conversely, vigorous economic interaction with numerous countries has brought down regimes similar to the one in Iran.

Congressman Paul also asserted that Iran is not a threat to Israel or the US as it's military is small and it's military technology is not comparable to the US. He cautioned that there might be a Gulf of Tonkin style event to gain popular support for an invasion.

In 2009, Congressman Paul argued against further possible sanctions noting that economically isolating the country may create a unifying effect within Iran. He notes that the elite of the country are never the ones to truly suffer in an embargo and inflicting further harm on the people of Iran would not endear our cause to them.

 

Rogue Regime

In March of 2006, Congressman Paul appeared on Fox News and spoke about possible sanctions against Iran. He spoke about the correlation between this bill and the actions leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

 

Sanctions Against Iran

In April of 2006, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to discuss possible sanctions with Iran.

Sanctions against Iran
April 17, 2006

As the drumbeat for military action against Iran grows louder, some members of Congress are calling to expand the longstanding U.S. trade ban that bars American companies from investing in that nation. In fact, many war hawks in Washington are pushing for a comprehensive international embargo against Iran.

The international response has been lukewarm, however, because the world needs Iranian oil. But we cannot underestimate the irrational, almost manic desire of some neoconservatives to attack Iran one way or another, even if it means crippling a major source of oil and destabilizing the worldwide economy.

Make no mistake about it: Economic sanctions are acts of aggression. Sanctions increase poverty and misery among the very poorest inhabitants of targeted nations, and they breed tremendous resentment against those imposing them. But they rarely hurt the political and economic elites responsible for angering American leaders in the first place. In fact, few government policies are as destructive to our economy as the embargo. While embargoes sound like strong, punitive action, in reality they represent a failed policy that four decades of experience prove doesn't work.

Conversely, economic engagement is perhaps the single most effective tool in tearing down dictatorships and spreading the message of liberty. It is important to note that economic engagement is not the same thing as foreign aid. Foreign aid, which should be abolished immediately, involves the US government spending American tax dollars to prop up other nations.

Embargoes only hurt the innocent of a targeted country. While it may be difficult for the leader of an embargoed nation to get a box of American-grown rice, he will get it one way or another. For the poor peasant in the remote section of his country, however, the food will be unavailable. It is difficult to understand how denying access to food, medicine, and other products benefits anyone. Embargo advocates claim that denying people access to our products somehow creates opposition to the despised leader. The reality, though, is that hostilities are more firmly directed at America. Father Robert Sirico, a Paulist priest, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that trade relations "strengthen people's loyalties to each other and weaken government power." To imagine that we somehow can spread the message of liberty to an oppressed nation by denying them access to our people and the bounty of our prosperity is contorted at best.

For more than thirty years we have embargoed Cuba in an attempt to drive Fidel Castro from power. Yet he remains in power. By contrast look at the Soviet Union, a nation we allowed our producers to engage economically. Of course the Soviet Union has collapsed. Embargoes greatly harm our citizens. As the American agricultural industry continues to develop new technology to reduce costs and increase yields, it becomes more important for farmers and ranchers to find markets outside the United States to sell their goods so they can make ends meet. By preventing our farmers and ranchers from competing in the world market, we deny them very profitable opportunities.

Government meddling is always destructive to the free market; people inevitably will make wiser decisions about how to spend their money, with whom, and when, than politicians in Washington. Embargoes simply do not accomplish the ends advocates claim to desire, and are extremely harmful to the well-being of Americans.

 

Avoiding War with Iran

In May of 2006, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to address the need for diplomacy with Iran.

Avoiding War with Iran
May 22, 2006

In recent weeks the Bush administration has stated its willingness to use diplomacy in dealing with Iran, which is a welcome change from previous policy. Let’s hope it’s more than just a change in tone. With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan costing more than $5 billion per week, record levels of federal spending and debt, and oil hovering around $70 per barrel, American taxpayers certainly cannot afford another war. Iran, like Iraq, is a major source of global oil. For all our posturing, the truth is that worldwide crude prices would spike rapidly if we attacked Iran. With summer coming, demand will increase and gas prices at the pump will be over $3 for most of the nation. Airlines are raising ticket prices to compensate for jet fuel prices that have nearly doubled in a year. A strike on Iran in coming months would create serious trouble for an American economy that is already struggling with high energy prices.

It’s time for a foreign policy based on reality, a foreign policy that serves the interests of ordinary Americans. The reality is that we will continue to use oil as a major source of energy in this country for the foreseeable future, and therefore the health of our economy will be affected by the price of oil. Like it or not, some of that oil will continue to come from the Middle East even if we get serious about tapping domestic sources.

The US has not used diplomacy with Iran for nearly 26 years, since the hostage crisis of the Carter era. But this “no negotiation” stance hasn’t worked: Iran’s defiant behavior continues, and its uranium enrichment program has not been dismantled. Is Iran a nuclear threat? Not according to our own CIA, which says Iran is years away from developing nuclear weapons. This is not to say we should sit back as nuclear weapons proliferate in the Middle East. But we shouldn’t allow war hawks to wildly overstate the threat posed by Iran, as they did with Iraq. Since 2001 we have spent over $300 billion occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re poorer but certainly not safer for it. We removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan-- much to the delight of the Iranians, who consider the Taliban an arch enemy. Warlords now control the country, operating a larger drug trade than ever before.

Similarly in Iraq, our ouster of Saddam Hussein will allow the majority Shia to claim leadership title if Iraq’s election actually leads to an organized government. This delights the Iranians, who are close allies of the Iraqi Shia. Talk about unintended consequences! This war has produced chaos, civil war, death and destruction, and huge financial costs. It has eliminated two of Iran’s worst enemies, and placed power in Iraq with Iran’s best friends. Even this apparent failure of policy does nothing to restrain the current march toward a similar confrontation with Iran.

What will it take for us to learn from our failures? Government power in Iran is divided, and President Ahmadinejad—the man responsible for hateful comments about Israel- does not control their nuclear policy. We should ignore him as a pariah, and deal instead with Ali Larijani, head of Iran’s National Security Council, who has made several reasonable statements about the US and shows a desire to have direct diplomatic talks. Discussions with Iran are not appeasement. On the contrary, dialogue is needed to explain clearly that America’s objectives of non-proliferation and peace in the Middle East will not be compromised. 25 years of isolating Iran has moved us farther from, not closer to, achieving those objectives.

 

Redeployment of Iraq Troops

In January of 2007, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to address the possible redeployment of troops from Iraq and what the US should do about Iran.

Escalation in the Middle East
January 15, 2007

While the president’s announcement that an additional 20,000 troops would be sent to Iraq dominated the headlines last week, the real story was the president’s sharp rhetoric towards Iran and Syria. And recent moves by the administration only serve to confirm the likelihood of a wider conflict in the Middle East. The president stated last week that, “Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity- and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria.” He also announced the deployment of an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf, and the deployment of Patriot air missile defense systems to countries in the Middle East. Meanwhile, US troops stormed the Iranian consulate in Iraq and detained several Iranian diplomats. Taken together, the message was clear: the administration intends to move the US closer to a dangerous and ill-advised conflict with Iran.

As I said last week on the House floor, speculation in Washington focuses on when, not if, either Israel or the U.S. will bomb Iran-- possibly with nuclear weapons. The accusation sounds very familiar: namely, that Iran possesses weapons of mass destruction. Iran has never been found in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and our own Central Intelligence Agency says Iran is more than ten years away from producing any kind of nuclear weapon. Yet we are told we must act immediately while we still can! This all sounds very familiar, but many of my colleagues don’t seem to have learned much from the invasion of Iraq.

House Democrats strongly criticized the Iraq troop surge after the president’s announcement, but then praised the president’s confrontational words condemning Iran. Many of those opposing a troop surge are not calling for a withdrawal of our troops from the Middle East, but rather for “redeployment.” Redeployment to where? Iran? We need to return to reality when it comes to our Middle East policy. We need to reject the increasingly shrill rhetoric coming from the same voices who urged the president to invade Iraq.

The truth is that Iran, like Iraq, is a third-world nation without a significant military. Nothing in history hints that she is likely to invade a neighboring country, let alone America or Israel. I am concerned, however, that a contrived Gulf of Tonkin- type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran. The best approach to Iran, and Syria for that matter, is to heed the advice of the Iraq Study Group Report, which states: "… the United States should engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to obtain their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq and other regional issues. In engaging with Syria and Iran, the United States should consider incentives, as well as disincentives, in seeking constructive results." In coming weeks I plan to introduce legislation that urges the administration to heed the advice of the Iraq Study Group. Dialogue and discussion should replace inflammatory rhetoric and confrontation in our Middle East policy, if we truly seek to defeat violent extremism and terrorism.

 

Presidential Debate

During a Presidential debate on Fox News, Congressman Paul was asked a hypothetical question about Iran's nuclear weapon capability and their threat to Israel. Congressman Paul notes that Israel has it's own nuclear capabilities that far outweigh Iran's. He notes that Iran is cooperating with the IAEA and that we should not be looking for a chance to attack Iran.

 

Bombed if you do ...

In December of 2007, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" address to discuss Iran and it's nuclear program.

Bombed if you do ... Bombed if you Don't

The latest National Intelligence Estimate has been greeted by a mixture of relief and alarm. As I have been saying all along, Iran indeed poses no quantifiable imminent nuclear threat to us or her neighbors. It is with much alarm, however, that we see the administration continue to ratchet up the war rhetoric as if nothing has changed. Indeed nothing has changed from the administration's perspective, as they have had this latest intelligence report for some time. Only this week has it been made known to the public. They want it both ways with Iran. On the one hand, they discredit the report entirely, despite it being one of the most comprehensive intelligence reports on the subject, with over 1,000 source notes in the document. On the other hand, when discrediting it fails, they claim that the timing of the abandonment of the weapons program, just as we were invading Iraq, means our pressure must have worked, so we must keep it up with a new round of even tougher sanctions. Russia and China are not buying this, apparently, and again we are finding ourselves on a lonely tenuous platform on the world stage. The truth is Iran is being asked to do the logically impossible feat of proving a negative. They are being presumed guilty until proven innocent because there is no evidence with which to indict them. There is still no evidence that Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has ever violated the treaty's terms – and the terms clearly state that Iran is allowed to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful, civilian energy needs. The United States cannot unilaterally change the terms of the treaty, and it is unfair and unwise diplomatically to impose sanctions for no legitimate reason. Are we to think that Iran hasn't noticed the duplicitous treatment being received by so-called nuclear threats around the globe? If they have been paying attention, and I think they have, they would see that if countries do have a nuclear weapon, they tend to be left alone, or possibly get a subsidy, but if they do not gain such a weapon then we threaten them. Why wouldn't they want to pursue a nuclear weapon if that is our current foreign policy? The fact remains, there is no evidence they actually have one, or could have one any time soon, even if they immediately resumed a weapons program. Our badly misguided foreign policy has already driven this country's economy to the brink of bankruptcy with one war based on misinformation. It is unthinkable that despite lack of any evidence of a threat, some are still charging headstrong into yet another war in the Middle East when what we ought to be doing is coming home from Iraq, coming home from Korea, coming home from Germany and defending our own soil. We do not need to be interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and waging war when honest trade, friendship, and diplomacy are the true paths to peace and prosperity.

 

Iran Policy Hearing

In July of 2008, Congressman Paul spoke at a hearing on Iranian policy. The videos below show his opening remarks on that committee, and his comments on the committee and the proposed embargo.

 

 

Campaign for Liberty Video

In September of 2009, Congressman Paul made a video discussing the Iranian nuclear program. He discusses the fact that Iran is not part of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, and that the country is abiding by the IAEA rules for the development of nuclear energy.

 

Floor Speech on Iran Sanctions Act

In December of 2009, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about his opposition to the Iran Sanctions Act. He notes that the language of the bill could lead to a blockade of Iran or other military actions. He then responds to a rebuttal on his positions.

 

Sanctions are Precursors to War

In December of 2009, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to address the recent sanctions on Iran. He notes that sanctions are typically precursors to war and not diplomatic tools.

Iran Sanctions are Precursor to War

Last week the House overwhelmingly approved a measure to put a new round of sanctions on Iran. If this measure passes the Senate, the United States could no longer do business with anyone who sold refined petroleum products to Iran or helped them develop their ability to refine their own petroleum. The sad thing is that many of my colleagues voted for this measure because they felt it would deflect a military engagement with Iran. I would put the question to them, how would Congress react if another government threatened our critical trading partners in this way? Would we not view it as asking for war?

This policy is pure isolationism. It is designed to foment war by cutting off trade and diplomacy. Too many forget that the quagmire in Iraq began with an embargo. Sanctions are not diplomacy. They are a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade. It is ironic that people who decry isolationism support actions like this.

If a foreign government attempted to isolate the US economically, cut off our supply of gasoline, or starve us to death, would it cause Americans to admire that foreign entity? Or would we instead unite under the flag for the survival of our country?

We would not tolerate foreign covert operations fomenting regime change in our government. Yet our CIA has been meddling in Iran for decades. Of course Iranians resent this. In fact, many in Iran still resent the CIA’s involvement in overthrowing their democratically elected leader in 1953. The answer is not to cut off gasoline to the Iranian people. The answer is to stay out of their affairs and trade with them honestly. If our operatives were no longer in Iran, they would no longer be available as scapegoats for the regime to, rightly or wrongly, blame for every bad thing that happens. As bad as other regimes may be, it is up to their own people to deal with them so they can achieve true self-determination. When foreigners instigate regime change, the new government they institute is always perceived as serving the interest of the overthrowing country, not the people. Thus we take the blame for bad governance twice. Instead we should stay out of their affairs altogether.

With the exception of the military industrial complex, we all want a more peaceful world. Many are hysterical about the imminent threat of a nuclear Iran. Here are the facts: Iran has never been found out of compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) they signed. However, being surrounded by nuclear powers one can understand why they might want to become nuclear capable if only to defend themselves and to be treated more respectfully. After all, we don’t sanction nuclear capable countries. We take diplomatic negotiations a lot more seriously, and we frequently send money to them instead. The non-nuclear countries are the ones we bomb. If Iran was attempting to violate the non-proliferation treaty, they could hardly be blamed, since US foreign policy gives them every incentive to do so.

 

Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act

In April of 2010, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor in opposition to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act.

 

Iowa Debate

In August of 2011, Congressman Paul participated in the Republican Presidential debate in Ames, Iowa. He stated that sanctions were a precursor to war, and that the US had no right to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear power.

WALLACE: Congressman Paul -- Congressman Paul, you say that President Obama is not too soft on Iran, you say that he is too tough on Iran. I want to put up some of your statements. "Sanctions are not diplomacy," you say. "They are a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade." As for Iran's nuclear ambitions, you wrote this: "One can understand why they might want to become nuclear capable, if only to defend themselves and to be treated more respectfull

Is that your policy towards Iran?

PAUL: Well, even our own CIA gives me this information, that they have no evidence that they're working on a weapon. Just think of what we went through in the Cold War. When I was in the Air Force, after I was drafted in the Air Force, all through the '60s, we were -- we were standing up against the Soviets. They had like 30,000 nuclear weapons with intercontinental missiles.

Just think of the agitation and the worrying of a country that might get a nuclear weapon some day. And just think of how many nuclear weapons surround Iran. The Chinese are there. The Indians are there. The Pakistanis are there. The Israelis are there. The United States is there. All these countries -- China has nuclear weapons.

Why wouldn't it be natural that they might want a weapon? There'd be -- internationally, they'd be given more respect. Why should we write people off? There was -- you know, in the '50s, we at least talked to them. At least our leaders and Reagan talked to the Soviets.
What's so terribly bad about this?

And people -- countries that you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them. I say a policy of peace is free trade. Stay out of their internal business. Don't get involved in these wars. And just bring our troops home.(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Congressman Paul -- Congressman Paul, I want to just give you 15 seconds. I want to just make sure I understand. So your policy towards Iran is, if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their right, no sanctions, no effort to stop them?

PAUL: No, I think that -- I think that thing -- that makes it much worse. Why would that be so strange, if the Soviets and the Chinese have nuclear weapons? We tolerated the Soviets; we didn't attack them.
And they were a much greater danger -- they were the greatest danger to us in -- our whole history. You don't go to war against them.

I mean, this whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions. This is why we still don't have trade relationships with Cuba. It's about time we talked to Cuba and stopped fighting these wars that are about 30 or 40 years old. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Cain...

SANTORUM: Just --...

WALLACE: Senator Santorum, I got a question for you...

SANTORUM: Well, as the author of the Iran Freedom Support Act, which he is criticizing, because I authored it when I was in the United States sanction -- Senate, when it actually imposed sanctions on Iran because of their nuclear program -- Iran is not Iceland, Ron.

Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979. Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and the Afghanistans have -- Afghanistan has had. The -- the Iranians...(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Quiet, please.

SANTORUM: The Iranians -- the Iranians are -- are the existential threat to the state of Israel. You ask -- you ask the Israelis, what keeps them up at night? It's the Iranians funding of Hamas and Hezbollah and the support of Syria...

WALLACE: Thirty seconds...

SANTORUM: ... and the reason -- hold on. Let me finish.

SANTORUM: Yeah, I know there are rules. And you guys have been giving these guys a lot of time and not a whole lot of time to me, so let me answer the question.

BAIER: You have a question -- you have a question coming. Congressman Paul?

PAUL: OK, the senator -- the senator is wrong on his history. We've been at war in -- in -- in Iran for a lot longer than '79. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah, and the reaction -- the blowback came in 1979. It's been going on and on because we just plain don't mind our own business. That's our problem. (APPLAUSE)

...

SANTORUM: -- anyone -- anyone that suggests that Iran is not a threat to this country or is not a threat to stability in the Middle East is obviously not seeing the world very clearly. He sees it exactly the way that Barack Obama sees it, that he has to go -- we have to go around and apologize for the fact that we've gone out and exerted our influence to create freedom around the world.

I don't apologize for that. I don't apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time and now they're under a -- under a mullacracy that -- that tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all -- all throughout their society and it's the greatest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world and is setting up training camps and is working with Venezuela and other countries in our -- south of our border to threaten us.

This is -- the -- Iran is a country that must be confronted. I was in front of the -- I was in front of this curve. I authored the Iran Freedom and Support Act back in 19 -- excuse me, 2004. It was blocked by Joe Biden, nonetheless, and Barack Obama once. We got it passed. And I can tell you, if Rick Santorum and when Rick Santorum is president, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon because the world as we know it... (RINGS BELL)

SANTORUM: -- will be no more.

WALLACE: Conger -- Congressman Paul, 30 seconds.

PAUL: You've heard the war propaganda that is liable to lure -- lead us into the sixth war. And I worry about that position. Iran is a threat because they have some militants there. But believe me, they're all around the world and they're...(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Excuse me. They're -- they're all around the world and they're not a whole lot different than others. Iran does not have an air force that can come here. They don't have -- they can't even make enough gasoline for themselves. And here we are building this case up...

SANTORUM: (INAUDIBLE).

PAUL: Please. Please. They're building up this case like, just like we did in Iraq -- build up the war propaganda. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq.(RINGS BELL)

PAUL: And they had nuclear weapons and we had to go in. I'm sure you supported that war, as well. (CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: OK...

PAUL: It's time we quit this. It's time -- it's trillions of dollars we're spending on these wars. (APPLAUSE) (BOOS)

BAIER: When we come back...(BOOS) -- when we come back, we'll try to get a hold of things -- social issues. That should be fun. And the most prescient -- pressing issues right now, getting America back to work, after this break.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 12, 2011 Congressman Paul participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked there if war with Iran was worth it to prevent them from achieving a nuclear weapon and he states that it is not.

Scott Pelley: Congressman Paul, let me follow up with you for just 30 seconds. Is it worth going to war to prevent a nuclear weapon in Iran?

Ron Paul: No, it isn't worthwhile. The only way you would do that is-- you would have to go through Congress. We-- we as commander in chief aren't making the decision to go to war. You know, the old-fashioned way, the Constitution, you go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened. And-- I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq.

And, you know, they didn't have nuc-- weapons of mass destruction. And it was orchestrated and it was-- to me, a tragedy of what's happened these past-- last ten years, the death and destruction, $4 billion-- $4 trillion in debt. So no, it's not worthwhile goin' to war. If you do, you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.

Voting Record

Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act

In June of 2010 the House voted on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act. The Act passed 408-8. Ron Paul voted against the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.

Ron Paul voted against the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.

Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009

In December of 2009, the House voted on legislation to enact sanctions on Iran's oil system hoping to force it to engage diplomatically on its nuclear program. The measure passed 412-12. Ron Paul voted against the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009.

Ron Paul voted against the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-H J Res 14; The Use of Military Force in Iran - Cosponsor

Provides that: (1) no provision of law enacted before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution shall be construed to authorize the use of U.S. military force against Iran; and (2) absent a national emergency created by an attack or imminent attack by Iran upon the United States, its territories or possessions or its Armed Forces, the President shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating military force against Iran.

Michele Bachmann

Summary

Congresswoman Bachmann takes a hard line stance against Iran. She opposes Iran's influence in Iraq and neighboring nations and opposes Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

In 2007, Congresswoman Bachmann caused a controversy when she claimed in an interview that Iran had a plan to divide Iraq into three sections with one section reserved for terrorist training activities. She referred to Iranian President Achmadenijad as a madman and stated that the US must take whatever means necessary to ensure that Iran does not obtain US weapons.

In November of 2010, Congresswoman Bachmann supported the uprising in Iran and stated that President Obama should support the movement in something other than vocal support.

In the Iowa Presidental debate, Congresswoman Bachmann stated that a nuclear Iran is the central issue in the Middle East and that as President, she would do everything in her power to make sure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.

In September of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann stated that President Obama should forbid President Achmadenijad from speaking at the United Nations. The next month, the responded to a foiled attempt by Iranian operatives to assassinate a Saudi ambassador by stating that Iran attempted the act because President Obama showed weakness.

 

The Plan to divide Iraq

In February of 2007, Congresswoman Bachmann was interviewed by the St. Cloud Times and discussed the war in Iraq and Iran's involvement there. During that interview, Congresswoman Bachmann talks about a plan that Iran is involved in to divide Iraq into three pieces with one part reserved for a terrorist training camp.

Iran is the trouble maker, trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want America to pull out. And do you know why? It’s because they’ve already decided that they’re going to partition Iraq.

And half of Iraq, the western, northern portion of Iraq, is going to be called …. the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I’m sorry, I don’t have the official name, but it’s meant to be the training ground for the terrorists. There’s already an agreement made.

They are going to get half of Iraq and that is going to be a terrorist safe haven zone where they can go ahead and bring about more terrorist attacks in the Middle East region and then to come against the United States because we are their avowed enemy.

...

If Iran is allowed to freely operate in Iraq, and continues to thwart the U.S. and the Iraqi government, then we may very well see a de facto partition in which the western Anbar province continues to house and develop terrorists.

...

He's a crazed, delusioned president of Iran. He (Achmadenijad) is literally a madman.

...

This is a very serious concern that we need to pay close attention to, and make sure that we take whatever means are necessary to make sure that Ahmadinejad does not succeed. (In getting nuclear weapons)

 

Support for Iranian Uprising

In November of 2010, Congresswoman Bachmann spoke about her support for a popular uprising in Iran and her opposition to the tyrannical Iranian government in place in Tehran.

 

Iowa Debate

In August of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann participate in the Republican Presidential debate in Ames, Iowa. She stated that she would not allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon.

WALLACE: Congresswoman Bachmann, I want to switch to another angle of the war on terror, though if you want to weigh in on Iran, feel free. We -- you say that we don't win the war on terror by closing Guantanamo and reading Miranda rights to terrorists. Congressman Paul says terrorism suspects -- suspects have committed a crime and are due -- should be given due process in civilian courts. Could you please tell Congressman Paul why he's wrong?

BACHMANN: Well, because, simply, terrorists who commit acts against United States citizens, people who are from foreign countries who do that, do not have any right on our -- under our Constitution to Miranda rights.

We've also seen that Guantanamo Bay has yielded significant information. In fact, we've learned that that led to the capture and the killing of bin Laden.

This is a tool that we need to have in order to be able to prostitute the new type of war, the new type of warfare, and the new type of terrorists that this country is dealing with.

Regarding Iran, Iran is the central issue in the Middle East and their capacity to become a nuclear power. They're one of the four state sponsors of terror in the world.

I sit on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. I can't reveal classified information, but I can say this: As president of the United States, I will do everything to make sure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.

 

Opposition to Achmadenijad Speech at UN

In September of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann spoke out against allowing Iranian President Achmadenijad to speak at the UN due to violations of UN charters and International Law.

He has proven he is in violation of the United Nations charter and of international law. Since he is, in the most literal sense, an outlaw, he should not be allowed in the United States of America.

 

Response to Iran Plot

In October of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann was interviewed by Erin Burnett and responded to an uncovered plot by Iranian operatives to assassinate a Saudi Ambassador on US by stating that President Obama had placed space between the US and Israel.

If I was president I wouldn't have taken my eye of the number one issue in the Middle East, which is Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. The problem with the Obama administration is they put serious daylight between Israel and the United States from day one of the Obama presidency, so the president unfortunately sent signals of weakness.

When you have a nation — that is a hostile nation — seeing the United States from a lens point of weakness then that can lead to actions that are absolutely heinous like were seeing today.

This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed seriously and obviously historically this needed to be addressed by the White House earlier on so that signals were sent to Iran that you would never consider attempting something like this on U.S. soil. Obviously they felt like they could be successful.

Clearly I think the president took his eye off the most important thing and that's a nuclear Iran.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann participated in the national security debate on CNN. She addresses the issue of Iran and its nuclear capability. She called President Obama's actions on Iran appeasement.

BACHMANN: I agree with all of that. And energy independence is something that President Obama certainly has avoided.

BLITZER: But that's going to take many years.

BACHMANN: It -- it will but the president -- almost every decision that the president has made since he came in has been one to put the United States in a position of unilateral disarmament including the most recent decision he made to cancel the Keystone Pipeline.

That would have not only created jobs but it would have helped us in energy independence.

But I want to go back to something. That's the fact why is it that we're talking about Israel having to make a strike against Iran? It's because Iran has announced they plan to strike Israel.

They've stated, as recently as August just before President Ahmadinejad came to -- to the U.N. General Assembly. He said that he wanted to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth.

He has said that if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He will use it against the United States of America.

This isn't just an idle threat. This is a reality. And that's why President Obama has -- has failed the American people because for two and a half years he gave the Iran the luxury of time.

He met with them with no preconditions. It's the doctrine of appeasement. He has changed the course of history because at the time when we needed a leader most, we didn't have one.

That's what I'll do differently as President of the United States. I'll lead.

Voting Record

Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act

In June of 2010 the House voted on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act. The Act passed 408-8. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.

Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009

In December of 2009, the House voted on legislation to enact sanctions on Iran's oil system hoping to force it to engage diplomatically on its nuclear program. The measure passed 412-12. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 1208; Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Iran Freedom Support Act to maintain specified U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran until the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that Iran has verifiably dismantled its weapons of mass destruction programs and ceased its support for international terrorism. Amends the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to: (1) include transshipment among sanctionable activities; and (2) exclude from the United States an alien who is a senior government official of a foreign government or a corporate principal or significant shareholder of a foreign person involved in proliferation activities relating to Iran.

Session-111; Bill Number-H Res 1553; Israel and Iran - Cosponsor

Condemns the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its: (1) threats to annihilate the United States and Israel; (2) support of international terrorism; and (3) incitement of genocide of the Israeli people. Supports using all means to persuade the government of Iran to stop building and acquiring nuclear weapons. Reaffirms the U.S. bond with Israel and pledges to work with the government of Israel and the people of Israel to ensure that their nation receives critical economic and military assistance, including missile defense capabilities, needed to address the Iranian threat. Supports Israel's right to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran.

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 4649; Iran Human Rights Sanctions Act - Cosponsor

Directs the President to impose visa entry and financial sanctions on a person determined to be complicit in human rights abuses committed against Iranian citizens or their family members on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran. Requires that: (1) the list of such persons required by this Act be made available to the public and posted on the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State websites; and (2) the President consider data obtained by other countries and nongovernmental organizations that monitor Iran's human rights abuses in preparing such list. Terminates sanctions upon presidential certification to Congress that: (1) the sanctioned persons have ceased complicity in human rights abuses; and (2) the government of Iran has released all political prisoners, ceased its killing and abuse of Iranian citizens engaging in peaceful political activity and prosecuted those responsible, committed itself to free elections and respect for human rights, and ceased broadcast interference.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 1400; Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

To enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by imposing additional economic sanctions against Iran, and for other purposes.

Session-110; Bill Number-H Con Res 362; Iran and Nuclear Weapons - Cosponsor

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

Herman Cain

Summary

Herman Cain takes a hard line approach to addressing Iran. He has stated that the US should attempt diplomatic efforts to end Iran's nuclear program.

In July of 2011, Herman Cain proposed the Cain Doctrine. The Cain doctrine is a two part idea that the US should let Iran and other countries know that attacking Israel would be seen as an attack on the US. The second part would be backing that rhetoric with an attack should Iran move forward with an attack.

To address Iran's nuclear energy pursuits, Herman Cain promotes energy independence to remove Iran's financial revenue.

 

Daily Caller Interview

In October of 2010 Herman Cain was interviewed by the Daily Caller and was asked about Iran. He stated that he was not privy to inside information as to how close Iran was to a nuclear weapon. He did state that he felt they posed a threat to Israel.

In Iran, Cain supports pushing a diplomatic approach for nuclear disarmament, but said the United States should be weary of the Iranian regime. Cain said the U.S. and the UN should continue with strict sanctions and follow through on them, but should be ready to react in the case Iran does anything out of line.

“I don’t have enough confidential inside information to know how close they [Iran] are to building a nuclear weapon and, from the information [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad has put out there in the press, I don’t think they’re that close,” Cain said. “Where they are a threat is in Israel, the fact that they have flat-out threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.”

 

The Cain Doctrine

In July of 2011, Mr Cain spoke at a forum for the Washington Times and defined the Cain Doctrine. That doctrine would consist of telling Iran and other nations that attacking Israel was the equivelent to attacking the US and the US would respond accordingly.

Option A is, ‘Folks, we are not going to allow you to attack Israel‘ … If they call my bluff, they already know — they will know — what Option B is.

There will be a set of conditions and circumstances that I will work with Israel on for them to understand that they cannot abuse that doctrine.

(If Israel is attacked by Iran, I am) not going to sit back and get a vote from the United Nations as to what we ought to do.

If they [Iran] start lobbing rockets and stuff over at Israel, then we’re going to shoot back with Israel.

...

The problem we have today is that, I believe, that [Iran] would test this president’s intention to help protect Israel.

 

Iowa Debate

In August of 2011, Herman Cain participated in the Republican debate in Ames, Iowa. He spoke about the need to become energy independent to lessen Iran's power.

WALLACE: Mr. Cain -- Mr. Cain, you told Bill O'Reilly in June -- and I want to put it up -- the way you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is for us to get serious about real energy independent -- a real energy-independent strategy. Do you really think that more domestic oil production in this country is going to convince the mullahs in Tehran not to pursue a nuclear weapon?

CAIN: I believe that our energy strategy is directly related to national security, as well as stopping Iran in their efforts. The head of Iran, Ahmadinejad, has said that he wants to wipe Israel off of the face of the Earth. I take that seriously. He has also said -- he has also said that he's not going to listen to the United States, Britain, or anybody else in their attempts to do what they want to do.

That being said, there's more to foreign policy than bombs and bullets. There's bombs and bullets and economics.

If we go serious about maximizing all of our energy resources in this country, we can become a player on the world market. As the price of oil goes down, it puts an economic squeeze on Iran. This is why I believe we should have a serious energy-independent strategy in order to be able to be a player on the world market. That's what I meant by using our energy resources, not just oil, but all of our resources to become energy independent. (APPLAUSE)

 

Dick Morris Interview

In September of 2011, Herman Cain was interviewed by Dick Morris on foreign policy. He notes that the US should be in place to retaliate against a possible Iran attack against Israel. He supports assigning an Aegis gun ship within firing range of such a retaliation.

 

Greta Appearance

On October 11, 2011 Mr Cain appeared on the Greta Van Susteran show and discussed Iran and a recently foiled attempt by Iranian operatives to assassinate a Saudi Ambassador.

Good evening, sir. I don't know if you saw the introduction, but what would you do if you were president in light of the terrorism plot that was thwarted today but apparently leads to the top of the Iranian government. What would you do, sir?

HERMAN CAIN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would have done something earlier that would have encouraged them not to do something like that. That is one of great capabilities we have is our ballistic missile defense systems that could be upgraded, and we could place the Aegis ballistic missile defense systems in international water in that part of the world.

The only thing that Iran understands is our military capability, but unfortunately they believe that they can do something like they did today and this nation is not going to react because they see this president as a weak president. They would not see me as a weak president, and I would send strong signals to let them know that we would be prepared to take whatever actions we needed to take.

VAN SUSTEREN: Under you theory you would head them off at the pass so they wouldn't do that. But assume under my hypothetical, the situation today, where it is actually happened, at least we're being told by the administration that high up in the Iranian government, they now have, at least we're told, they tried to half a plot. We have a Democratic Congressman coming out with details. Mark Kirk has details, and you have the situation where Iran is hungry for nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she wants to ratchet up the sanctions. What do we do? You are the president and this is for better or worse a potential crisis?

CAIN: Like I said, I'm all for sanctions but that alone is not going to do that. We have to show them our capability. And one of the capabilities that this president is not maximizing is the use of these ballistic missile Aegis warships that we have. We have a great number of them, and we are not flexing our muscles.

The biggest problem, Greta, is that Iran and a lot of other countries see this president as weak president. This is why they continue to challenge us. And I think because they see him as a weak president they basically have their fingerprint on this plot that thankfully was broken up today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let's turn to the economy. We have a housing crisis in this country. We all know that. All these houses are under water. What would you do?

CAIN: The thing that we do, Greta, we must first grow the economy. They can talk about cutting all they want to, but until we grow this economy and get this GDP growing, we won't be able to solve any of these problems. We have 14 million people out of work and several more million underemployed.

This is why, and I know this is going to surprise, I am proposing my bold 9-9-9 plan. It will get America back to work. Why? We had it dynamically scored. It will cause the GDP to grow five percent, create six million jobs, and biggest thing, it creates certainty for the business community. When I served on the corporate boards for the last 20 years, we didn't sit around and talk about how we were going to survive. We talked about growth. In the last three years, businesses have been talking about survive. With a bold plan like the one I have proposed, businesses will start to talk about growing again.

The other thing the 9-9-9 plan would do, it would level the playing field between our products produced here and the rest of the world. It would make our products much more competitive.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 11, 2011 Herman Cain participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked there about Iran and he discusses the need to engage the younger generation there and the need to reduce our energy dependence on the region. He supports sanctions, but not military action in the country.

Major Garrett: This week, a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency provided additional credible evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. If you were president right now, what would you do specifically that this administration is not doing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?

Herman Cain: The first thing that I would do is to assist the opposition movement in Iran, that's tryin' to overthrow the regime. Our enemies are not the people of Iran, it's the regime. And a regime change is what they are trying to achieve. Secondly, we need to put economic pressure on Iran, by way of our own energy independence strategy. By having our own energy independence strategy, we will impact the price of oil in the world markets, because Iran uses oil not only as a-- means of currency, but they use it as a weapon.

One of the reasons that they are able to afford that nuclear weapons program, is because of oil. Secondly, we would then work to increase sanctions on Iran, along with our friends and our allies. So whereas we will not be-- so that's why I do believe that they have a nuclear weapons program and they are closer to having nuclear weapon, stopping them-- the only we can stop them is through economic means.

Major Garrett: A quick follow up, Mr. Cain. You say assisting the opposition, would you entertain military assistance and opposition?

Herman Cain: I would not entertain-- military opposition. I'm talkin' about to help the opposition movement within the country. And then there's one other thing that we could do. We could deploy our ballistic missile defense capable (UNINTEL) war ships strategically in that part of the world. We have the biggest fleet of those warships in the world. And we could use them strategically in the event that they were able to fire a ballistic missile.

 

CNN National Security Debate

In Novemeber of 2011, Herman Cain participated in the national security debate on CNN. He was asked about whether or not he would support an attack by Israel on Iran. He states that in theory, he would support such an attack. However, he would need to know that the plan had a high possibility for success to go along with it.

QUESTION: If Israel attacked Iran to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons, would you help Israel launch the attack or support it otherwise? BLITZER: All right. We've got the question. Let me ask Herman Cain first. Did you get the question?

CAIN: I didn't quite get the question.

BLITZER: If -- the specific question is, if Israel attacked Iran to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons, would you help Israel launch the attack or support it otherwise?

CAIN: I would first make sure that they had a credible plan for success, clarity of mission and clarity of success.

Remember, when you talk about attacking Iran, it is a very mountainous region. The latest reports say that there may be 40 different locations, and I would want to make sure that we had a good idea from intelligence sources where these are located.

And if Israel had a credible plan that it appeared as if they could succeed, I would support Israel, yes. And in some instances, depending upon how strong the plan is, we would join with Israel for that, if it was clear what the mission was and it was clear what the definition of victory was.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, would you support Israel and help Israel in such an attack?

PAUL: No, I wouldn't do that.

(LAUGHTER)

But there would be good reasons because I don't expect it to happen. Because, you know, the Mossad leader that just retired said it would be the stupidest thing to do in the world. And it's a big argument over in Israel. They're not about to do this.

They've just polled 40 major experts on foreign policy here by the National Journal. Not one of them said there should be a unilateral attack on -- on the sites in -- in Iran.

So that's not going to happen. And if it did -- you're supposing that if it did, why does Israel need our help? We need to get out of their way. I mean, we interfere with them. We interfere with them...

(LAUGHTER)

... when they deal with their borders. When they want to have peace treaties, we tell them what they can do because we buy their allegiance and they sacrifice their sovereignty to us. And then they decide they want to bomb something, that's their business, but they should, you know, suffer the consequences. When they bombed the Iraqi missile site, nuclear site, back in the '80s, I was one of the few in Congress that said it's none of our business and Israel should take care of themselves. Israel has 200, 300 nuclear missiles. And they can take care of themselves. Why should we commit -- we don't even have a treaty with Israel. Why do we have this automatic commitment that we're going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel? So I think they're quite capable of taking care of themselves.

I think we do detriment -- just think of all the money we gave to Egypt over 30 or 40 years. Now, look, we were buying friendship. Now there's a civil war, they're less friendly to Israel.

The whole thing is going to backfire once we go bankrupt and we remove our troops, so I think we should be very cautious in our willingness to go to war and send troops without a proper declaration by the U.S. Congress.

BLITZER: Let me let Herman Cain respond.

(APPLAUSE)

CAIN: Thank you.

I stated if the mission and the plan were clear, that it could succeed, but I pointed out that that is highly unlikely, given the terrain, the mountainous terrain in Iran.

But here's the other reason that we should help Israel in an initiative live that. Back to Afghanistan: if we pull out of Afghanistan too soon, Iran is going to help to fulfill that power vacuum in Afghanistan. And so it is in our best interests, the United States of America, to prevent them from being able to help fill that power vacuum in Afghanistan.

 

Rick Santorum

Summary

Senator Santorum believes that Iran is a threat to the US and he takes a hard line approach towards the country. In 2006, Senator Santorum supported the Iran Freedom and Support Act to address some of the issues with Iran. The bill codifies sanctions, controls, and regulations currently in place against Iran by Executive order into statute. The bill declares that it should be a policy of the United States to support the Iranian people in their pro-democracy movements. Senator Santorum called for $100 million in funding for pro-democracy efforts in Iran.

During a speech in support of the Iran Freedom and Support Act, Senator Santorum stated that Iran was promoting terrorism activities and Islamic fascism ideology that undergirds that terrorist activity in the Middle East, and that Iran has been implicated in the 1996 attack on U.S. military personnel at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. He also stated that Iran was contributing to terrorist activities in Iraq. Senator Santorum also stated that Iran had a dismal record on human rights, women's rights, and worker's rights. He stated that although Iran was within it's rights to pursue nuclear energy, it was only using this as a disguise to pursue nuclear weapons.

During a Presidential debate in Iowa, Senator Santorum engaged in a discussion with Congressman Paul about Iran and the Iran Freedom and Support Act. Senator Santorum stated that Iran is a country that has been at war with the US since 1979, and that Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and the Afghanistanis. He went on to say that the Iranians are the existential threat to the state of Israel.

In January of 2011, Senator Santorum stated that he hoped the US was involved in programs to assassinate Iranian scientists that may be involved in their nuclear weapons program as it sends a clear message to that nation and others that such action will not be tolerated.

 

Iran Freedom and Support Act

On March 2, 2006 Senator Santorum spoke on the Senate floor about the legislation that he was putting forth titled the Iran Freedom and Support Act.

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about some of the recent developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We have a lot of activity today. There is a hearing in the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as some dissidents who are in town to talk about the state of affairs in Iran.

As many of my colleagues know, the Iranian Government's track record with respect to supporting acts of terror inflicted upon innocent persons and inflicting damage on peaceful relations among Middle Eastern countries is abysmal. Iran's bad activities in the Middle East and, candidly, bad actions in the world--at the head of the list, from my perspective, is promoting terrorism activities and Islamic fascism ideology that undergirds that terrorist activity in the Middle East--have secured a designation by the U.S. Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran supports terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, the entity behind the 1983 suicide terrorist attack against U.S. military and civilian personnel in Lebanon. Hamas is another organization that they are now supporting, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. All of these are reprehensible organizations that the Iranian Government is directly sponsoring as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Additionally, Iran has been implicated in the 1996 attack on U.S. military personnel at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

Iran's reach into Iraq , which many of us have been complaining about for a couple of years and which is now being recognized by our Government, by our Department of State, and which is now being recognized by the world--Iran is one of the fomenters of terrorism within the country of Iraq .

Iran's connection to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the organization's Badr Brigades means that Iran has a hand in shaping the allegiances of both Iraq's police and military forces.

Iran's human rights violations, in addition to their terrorist activities, are no less chilling. The State Department reported that the Government of Iran engages in widespread use of torture and other degrading treatment and the Iranian Government continues to discriminate against religious and ethnic minorities. They do not discriminate as to who they discriminate against. Other Muslim sects--whether Sunni or Suffi or Jews or Christians, they discriminate against them all.

Iran's record of degradation of women is appalling and should not be tolerated by the international community. Iranian women are severely oppressed and their voices are constantly suffocated by the government. There are numerous examples of Iranian women who have been arrested and severely beaten for the simple fact they are females. One example is Dr. Roya Toloui, a women's rights activist and the editor of a publication that is now banned in Iran. She was arrested last summer in the wake of a 2005 July demonstration in the town of Mahabad. Dr. Toloui was held in prison for 66 days. While she was there, she was raped and she was tortured. Though she has since been released from prison, Dr. Toloui is in constant fear of rearrest and of death.

The State Department also noted Iran's continued restrictions on workers' rights. In short, the Government of Iran oppress its people and terrorizes the world and is a threat to the security of this country and to the security of democracies throughout the West.

The one additional aspect that has now taken a lot of press is Iran's pursuit of nuclear capability. This is very unsettling when you have a regime with this kind of track record to be in pursuit of nuclear capability. Iran, of course, is permitted to pursue peaceful nuclear research under the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Its record on transparency and the true purpose of its program, obviously, is very much in doubt. In November of 2003 the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has been developing an undeclared nuclear enrichment program for 18 years and had covertly imported nuclear material and equipment. Furthermore, the IAEA reported that Iran had conducted over 110 unreported experiments to produce uranium, metal, and separated plutonium, and had possession of designs clearly related to the fabrication of nuclear weapons.

In 2005, in August, following the election of President Ahmadinejad, Iran announced that the ongoing negotiations under the terms of the 2004 Paris agreement, the agreement that suspended activities brokered by the EU-3, were ``satisfactory'' according to Iran. Then they announced they were resuming the conversion of raw uranium into gas for enrichment. In January of 2006, Iran removed the IAEA seals on the research enrichment plant in Natanz.

Recently, the IAEA board voted 27 to 3 to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council, and in so doing noted Iran's many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran's aggressive behavior and concealment of ongoing nuclear activities can only lead to one conclusion, and that is that Iran is seeking to enrich uranium to use for nuclear weapons.

In response to this nuclear gambit, I believe we need smart sanctions for the U.N. to impose. For example, the U.N. should consider imposing a travel ban on Iran's leaders, banning international flights from Iranian air, banning the transportation of cargo carried by Iranian Government-owned ships, and possibly to pursue legal action against Iranian leaders responsible for human rights and terrorism abuses, as well as executions.

I recently introduced legislation with my colleague, Senator Norm Coleman, that seeks to empower the forces of democracy in Iran and support efforts to foster peaceful change within Iran. It is S. 333, the Iran Freedom and Support Act. It seeks to make it harder for the Government of Iran to have access to revenue and foreign investment. Resources that those investments accrue are used by the Iranian Government to support terrorist organizations and to pursue nuclear activity as well as to repress its people.

The bill also codifies sanctions, controls, and regulations currently in place against Iran by Executive order. It codifies those in statute. The bill declares it should be a policy of the United States to support the Iranian people in their prodemocracy movements. We believe, and the bill says, that the people of Iran are entitled to self-determination, to free and fair elections, and we want to provide the resources in helping those groups attain those free and fair elections. We authorized $10 million in this bill, but thanks to the effort on the supplemental the administration has sent up to the Congress, they have requested $75 million for prodemocracy efforts in Iran. I hope the introduction of our legislation last year perhaps gave some encouragement to ask for such funding. They have asked for $75 million. I will amend our bill to ask for $100 million for those efforts.

The Iran Freedom and Support Act is a nonviolent way to try to effect change in Iraq . I agree with the President and all who have talked about keeping our military options on the table, but it is vitally important to try to use our diplomatic options first and foremost. At a time when the threat from Iran is real, it is not only real to this country, not only real to the Middle East and Iraq , but it is, obviously, real to their own people in the way they treat them.

This is an important piece of legislation. It is something I hope we can do. It is important in spite of what the President has done. I support his policies that we show the Congress is 100 percent behind his effort to do something about the nuclear gambit Iran is engaged in right now. I am hopeful we can pass this legislation in a timely fashion.

I yield the floor.

 

Fox and Friends Appearance

On September 19, 2006 Senator Santorum appeared on Fox and Friends to discuss Iran and Iranian President Mahmoud Achmadinejad's United Nations speech. He stated that President Achmedinejad was one of the most dangerous leaders in the world today, and that he was just as zealous as the Mullahs in Iran.

 

Iowa Debate

In August of 2011, Senator Santorum participated in the Republican Presidential debate in Ames, Iowa. He carries out a conversation with Congressman Ron Paul discussing the need to address Iran as a threat and the need for sanctions against Iran.

WALLACE: Congressman Paul -- Congressman Paul, I want to just give you 15 seconds. I want to just make sure I understand. So your policy towards Iran is, if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their right, no sanctions, no effort to stop them?

PAUL: No, I think that -- I think that thing -- that makes it much worse. Why would that be so strange, if the Soviets and the Chinese have nuclear weapons? We tolerated the Soviets; we didn't attack them.
And they were a much greater danger -- they were the greatest danger to us in -- our whole history. You don't go to war against them.

I mean, this whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions. This is why we still don't have trade relationships with Cuba. It's about time we talked to Cuba and stopped fighting these wars that are about 30 or 40 years old. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Cain...

SANTORUM: Just --...

WALLACE: Senator Santorum, I got a question for you...

SANTORUM: Well, as the author of the Iran Freedom Support Act, which he is criticizing, because I authored it when I was in the United States sanction -- Senate, when it actually imposed sanctions on Iran because of their nuclear program -- Iran is not Iceland, Ron.

Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979. Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and the Afghanistans have -- Afghanistan has had. The -- the Iranians...(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Quiet, please.

SANTORUM: The Iranians -- the Iranians are -- are the existential threat to the state of Israel. You ask -- you ask the Israelis, what keeps them up at night? It's the Iranians funding of Hamas and Hezbollah and the support of Syria...

WALLACE: Thirty seconds...

SANTORUM: ... and the reason -- hold on. Let me finish.

SANTORUM: Yeah, I know there are rules. And you guys have been giving these guys a lot of time and not a whole lot of time to me, so let me answer the question.

SANTORUM: Well, any...(LAUGHTER)

SANTORUM: -- anyone -- anyone that suggests that Iran is not a threat to this country or is not a threat to stability in the Middle East is obviously not seeing the world very clearly. He sees it exactly the way that Barack Obama sees it, that he has to go -- we have to go around and apologize for the fact that we've gone out and exerted our influence to create freedom around the world.

I don't apologize for that. I don't apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time and now they're under a -- under a mullacracy that -- that tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all -- all throughout their society and it's the greatest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world and is setting up training camps and is working with Venezuela and other countries in our -- south of our border to threaten us.

This is -- the -- Iran is a country that must be confronted. I was in front of the -- I was in front of this curve. I authored the Iran Freedom and Support Act back in 19 -- excuse me, 2004. It was blocked by Joe Biden, nonetheless, and Barack Obama once. We got it passed. And I can tell you, if Rick Santorum and when Rick Santorum is president, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon because the world as we know it... (RINGS BELL)

SANTORUM: -- will be no more.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 12, 2011 Senator Santorum participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He spoke about the need to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon.

Major Garrett: Senator Santorum, I know you want to jump in on Iran. I'll give you that opportunity in just a second. So let me merge two things if I could, just one second. The Taliban said earlier this summer quote, "The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war." If you were commander in chief, would you have endless stamina for victory in Afghanistan? And would you, this evening, define victory in Afghanistan for the American people? And please weigh in, I know you do want to, on Iran.

Rick Santorum: Thank you very much, Major, I appreciate that. Victory against-- the Taliban in Afghanistan is the-- Taliban is a neutered force. They are no longer a security threat-- to the-- to the-- Afghan people or to-- to our country. That would be victory. It doesn't mean wipe them out, we can't wipe them out, but they're no longer a security threat.

The bigger issue-- and I know there's those of us at the end, who don't get a lot of questions. And so I-- I-- this was the-- this is the most important national security issue that we're gonna be dealin' with here in this-- in this year. And that's the issue of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. I think everyone should have the opportunity to answer that question. Particularly me. I've been working on Iran since back in 2004. And I proposed exactly the things that Herman and-- and Mitt Romney suggested, which was to give money to the-- to the-- to the rebel forces there to-- to help the pro-democracy movement and to put tough sanctions in place.

I was opposed by President Bush. And yet, we were able to overcome that and pass the Iran Freedom and Support Act. I was able to get that done. And then President Bush didn't provide money for the pro-democracy movement. And President Obama cut that money. What we-- we have a situation that's different. I disagree with Newt. (UNINTEL) more sanctions and-- and-- and providing, you know, more support for the pro-democracy movement isn't gonna be enough, in time. Read the I.A.E.A. report.

Scott Pelley: Senator, I'm sorry.

Rick Santorum: They are (UNINTEL).

Scott Pelley: That's time. I'm sorry. We're gonna try to adhere to time and be fair to everyone in the-- application of that rule.

Rick Santorum: I understand. Just let me finish my final comment. My final comment is we should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes. 

...

Major Garrett: Senator Santorum, this is really a question about how you build a leadership model. How, sir, would you decide when it was necessary for you as commander in chief to overrule the advice you get from either your civilian advisors or your military advisors?

Rick Santorum: Well, I'll come into-- to the office of the presidency with a very clear agenda. And we'll-- I'll get people together that will share my point of view. When I was in the United States Senate, I didn't hire people who didn't share how I approach the problem. That's what the people of this country are electing. They're electing someone who's gonna be very crystal clear. And as you heard from my first two answers, I don't mince words. I say exactly what I believe.

And then I follow through and do what I say. I did that when I was in public life before, even though I represented a state that wasn't particularly conservative state. I followed through and did that. And I will surround myself with people who will execute what I promise the American public to do. And then we will go about the process of doing it.

Scott Pelley: You mentioned your agenda. If you could prioritize one or two points, maybe more if you'd like, what your key agenda is on national security.

Rick Santorum: Well, obviously, the-- the issue we were talking about before which is, number one, Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. And we will go about whatever it takes to make sure that happens. I hope, I hope that some of the things that I've talked about here and-- and Newt's-- thing that I-- I've been talking about for a while, which is covert activity.

You know, there have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and in-- in Iran. There have been computer viruses. There have been problems at their facility. I hope that the United States has been involved with that. I hope that we have been doing everything we can covertly to make sure that that program doesn't-- proceed forward. And if we're lucky enough, and I'm not sure we will be, that if-- un-- no action is taken and we still don't have a nuclear Iran, that would be my laser beam focus, to make sure that would not happen. 

 

US Killing Iranian Scientists

In January of 2011, Senator Santorum stated that he hoped the US was involved in programs to assassinate Iranian scientists that may be involved in their nuclear weapons program as it sends a clear message to that nation and others that such action will not be tolerated.

 

2012 Presidential Campaign Website Statements

Response To Iran

President Barack Obama naively and cavalierly once declared Iran as a “tiny country” that did not pose a serious threat. However, this week’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) now shows that these radical Islamists are on the verge of having a nuclear weapon.

If Barack Obama has taught us anything, it’s that experience matters. Rick Santorum has that experience – serving 8 years on Senate Armed Services Committee, authoring the Iran Freedom and Support Act in 2004 and the Syrian Accountability Act. In fact, Rick Santorum has recognized the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions for nearly a decade – standing tall against both Republicans and Democrats who have discounted and dismissed the reality that this radical theocracy is intent on destroying Israel and western civilization.

Santorum Administration’s Response To Iran:

  • Reinstate full funding authorized under the Iran Freedom and Support Act to assist pro-democracy groups within Iran
  • Bring greater attention to human rights violations of the Iranian regime against democracy protestors and minority religious groups
  • Would work with Israel to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat immediately; and developing a potential plan for military action if needed
  • Would work with Israel to determine the proper military response needed to stabilize the region, protect our allies and protect this country – including the authorization of targeted airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.
  • Any nuclear scientist proven to be working for Iran’s nuclear program would be treated as an enemy combatant
  • Help create Strike Funds to help organizers on the ground publicly protest and overthrow the regime
  • Economically target Iran by sanctioning Iran’s central bank coupled with opening all forms of energy production in the U.S effectively devastating Iran’s only economy
  • Ensure Iranian officials cannot access any of their funds by freezing bank accounts and significantly limit their travel by revoking visas
  • Refuse to negotiate on any level with the terrorist state of Iran
  • Neutralize Iran’s relationships with their primary allies in The Middle East by increasing pressure on Hezbollah and Syria
  • Eliminate the post of U.S. Ambassador to Syria
  • Stand with Israel as an ally and in any efforts Israel may take to defend themselves from Iranian aggression
  • Would push for, fully fund and build a comprehensive missile defense system, and reevaluate the ramifications of the Start Treaty
  • Authorize more research on the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Threat
  • Develop a National Prevention Plan to prevent a severe terrestrial and space emergencies that would take down our information systems or electrical grids

During his time in elected office, Rick Santorum was the national leader and ahead of the curve on identifying and proposing real solutions to deal with the threat of a nuclear Iran:

  • Served on the Senate Armed Services Committee for 8 years, where he worked to transform the military from a Cold War force into one prepared to deal with the threats of today and tomorrow;
  • Author of the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which imposed real sanctions on the Iranian regime and authorized $100 million in annual funding for pro-democracy movements within Iran; and,
  • Author of the Syria Accountability Act to combat the threat Syria posed to Israel.

 

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-109; Bill Number-S 333; Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005 - Prime Sponsor

A bill to hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 3971; Iran Freedom Support Act - Prime Sponsor

A bill to hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran.

Session-105; Bill Number-S 1311; Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997 - Cosponsor

Directs the President to report periodically to specified congressional committees on foreign persons (except those previously identified or sanctioned or subject to waiver) who, on or after August 8, 1995, have transferred, or attempted to transfer, controlled goods or technology, or provided, or attempted to provide, technical assistance or facilities that contributed, or would have contributed, to Iran's efforts to acquire, develop, or produce ballistic missiles. Requires imposition on such persons of minimum two-year sanctions prohibiting: (1) sales to such persons of items on the United States Munitions List (and terminating sales of any controlled U.S. arms); (2) the export to such persons of dual use goods and technology; and (3) the provision of U.S. financial assistance. Authorizes the President to waive such sanctions on the basis of additional information demonstrating that the sanctioned person did not commit the acts alleged.

Session-104; Bill Number-S 1228; Iran Oil Sanctions Act of 1995 - Cosponsor

Directs the President to impose certain credit sanctions against persons who, with actual knowledge, have made an investment of more than $40 million in any 12-month period that has significantly contributed to the development of petroleum resources in Iran.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2657; Iran Sanctions Extension Act of 2006 - Prime Sponsor

Amends the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 to extend the authorities under such Act with respect to Iran. (Sanctions under such Act no longer apply to Libya pursuant to Presidential Determination 2004-30, April 23, 2004.)

Session-109; Bill Number-S 1737; Iranian Nuclear Trade Prohibition Act of 2005 - Prime Sponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that countries should choose between trading with state sponsors of terrorism or maintaining good trade relations with the United States. Amends the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 to direct the President to prohibit the United States or any U.S. entity from purchasing nuclear fuel assemblies (not including low-enriched uranium) from any person or government or affiliated entity that sells nuclear fuel assemblies to Iran. Authorizes the President, with congressional notification, to waive such prohibition for national security purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S Con res 78; Iran Nuclear Violations - Cosponsor

Condemns the government of Iran's many failures to comply with its nuclear nonproliferation obligations, including its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement, its suspension commitments under the Paris Agreement, and prior commitments to the EU-3 to suspend all enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities. Commends the efforts of the governments of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to seek a credible suspension of Iran's enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities and to find a diplomatic means to address Iran's noncompliance with such obligations. Urges the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors at its February 2006 special meeting to order that Iran's noncompliance be reported to the U.N. Security Council. Calls on Security Council members, in particular the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, to consider any report of Iran's noncompliance in fulfillment of the Security Council's mandate to respond to situations bearing on international peace and security.

Session-105; Bill Number-S 1311; Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997 - Cosponsor

A bill to impose certain sanctions on foreign persons who transfer items contributing to Iran's efforts to acquire, develop, or produce ballistic missiles.

Newt Gingrich

Summary

In 2006, Congressman Gingrich wrote an article describing the war on terror and islamic fundamentalists as the third world war. He noted the numerous acts committed by Iran and terror organizations of other nations as an example that Iran was an active participant in the war. He urged people to decide which side of the war they were on and to then engage in the ideology arena to speak out against islamic jihad and tactics used by such groups.

Congressman Gingrich has consistently argued against allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. In 2008, Congressman Gingrich assailed a National Intelligence Estimate claiming that Iran no longer had or was pursuing nuclear weapons as a political move meant to take the legs out from under the Bush administration. In December of 2010, Congressman Gingrich argued that action needed to be taken to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. He stated that every day action wasn't taken, Iran got closer to achieving a nuclear weapon.

 

Third World War

On July 17, 2006 Congressman Gingrich released a statement through the Human Events website discussing the third world war.

A Third World War
by Newt Gingrich
07/17/2006

Like you, I spent the past week viewing the events in the Middle East with growing concern. In the 13 weeks that I have been bringing you my thoughts in Winning the Future, I have shared with you directly many challenges facing us. But no challenge confronting America is greater than the one I am writing about today. And no challenge requires us to be more candid and more direct about what victory will require.

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As I talked about yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," I am now firmly convinced that the world confronts a situation that is frighteningly similar to a Third World War, one every bit as serious and dangerous as the two great conflicts of the 20th Century.

The recent attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel -- with the active political, financial and military support of Iran and Syria -- are just the latest acts in this war. It is a war that pits civilization and the rule of law against the dictatorships of Iran and Syria and the terrorist groups of Hezbollah and Hamas that they support. It is also a war that pits civilized nations against Islamic terrorist groups around the world, including, most significantly (but not exclusively), the al Qaeda network.

In the United States, we refer to this struggle as the "Global War on Terror". Yet, I believe this label fails to capture the nature and scale of the threat faced by civilization.

The nature of the threat -- with Iran at the epicenter -- is at its core ideological. The threat to the United States is an ideological wing of Islam that is irreconcilable to modern civilization as we know it throughout most of the world. The United States and her allies face a long war with this irreconcilable wing of Islam.

While I have addressed the nature of this threat before, I believe the deadly attacks that have recently been carried out across the globe and the plots of mass murder that have been uncovered recently in our own country and abroad reflect a scale of challenge much larger than we currently recognize. So much so that I think an analogy to the two world wars of the last century more accurately explains where we find ourselves today.

The Iran-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas Terrorist Alliance

It is necessary to connect the dots to understand the scale of the challenge we face. These are not isolated events: Whether operationally connected or not, these attackers and plotters are connected in their ultimate aim to destroy the values of freedom, security and religious liberty that sustain civilization in the modern age.

Here's a list of the attacks, provocative acts and uncovered plots that have occurred in just the past seven weeks:

  • An Iran-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas terrorist alliance is waging war against Israel in both southern Lebanon and Gaza. Hezbollah has launched more than 1,000 rockets into northern Israel in the past few days alone.
  • Seven bombings in Mumbai, India, killed more than 200 people.
  • North Korea, which is in public contact with Iran, launched seven missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the West coast of the continental United States, in deliberate contempt of repeated warnings from the American and Japanese governments and the United Nations Security Council.
  • Seven Americans were seen on video tape in Miami pledging allegiance to al Qaeda.
  • A plot to bomb New York City subways and tunnels was discovered.
  • Eighteen Canadians, plotting terror, were arrested with twice the explosive force used in the Oklahoma City bombing and a plan to blow up the Canadian parliament.
  • The British government reported that it has uncovered more than 20 "major conspiracies" by Islamic terrorists, and as many as 1,200 potential terrorists now live in the United Kingdom.

This is only a recent list. It is in addition to the deadly bombings we witness on an almost daily basis in Baghdad, and previous attacks in New York, Washington, London, Madrid, Bali, Beslan, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Sharm-el-Sheikh, New Delhi, Amman and many other cities.

Are We For Civilization or Appeasement?

Some actions are clarifying because they force people -- and nations -- to choose sides. The increasing number of attacks, provocations, and plots of this Third World War similarly force us to make a decision. We must have a national debate -- indeed, a worldwide debate -- between those of us who believe we're in a war to defend civilization (and therefore must defeat terrorists and their state sponsors) and those who are made uncomfortable by the price of defeating terrorists and their state sponsors.

This is a fundamental choice upon which will hinge our future liberties and possibly our very lives. New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin described the war like this:

"While it is often a war of loose or no affiliation, and sometimes just amateur copycats, the similar goals of destruction add up to a threat against modern society. ... Islamic fascists are the driving force, but anti-American hatred is a global membership card for any and all who have a grievance and a gun."

So which are we for? Defending civilization and America? Or making excuses for those who threaten us and burying our heads in the sand?

What Can We Do?

I think the answer is clear. The duty of civilized, law-abiding nations is to win this war. Anything less than victory sends the message that our terrorist enemies and their state sponsors have the time to develop the strength to do us incalculable harm. Anything less than victory threatens the very survival of the rule of law and freedom as we have known it.

Winning four arguments are essential to winning this Third World War. I urge each of you to take the time to make these points to your friends and neighbors who may not yet recognize the nature and scale of this war, or who are tempted by the dangerous allure of appeasement.

  1. It's Us Versus Them: The American people and free people everywhere must come to recognize that we are in a world war that pits civilization against terrorists and their state sponsors who wish to impose a new dark age -- with them in charge. Everything our leaders do must be judged by whether it helps or hurts us in defeating terrorists and their state sponsors.
  2. Connect the Dots, Then Connect Them Again: We must consistently emphasize that the deadly attacks and threats of destruction we see worldwide are connected.
    The bombings in India relate to attacks on Israel. Iran's erecting a statue of the favorite hero (Simon Bolivar) of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez -- in a gesture of alliance -- is linked to the Chavez-Castro efforts to weaken America. Suicide bombings in Iraq are linked to efforts to kill thousands of innocent civilians in Canada and New York City.
    And on and on it goes.
  3. Stand and Deliver: We must take every possible opportunity to engage in arguments and efforts that educate people about the nature of the war and the enormous challenge it will be to defeat terrorists and their state sponsors who are committed to our destruction.
  4. Be Honest About the Challenges Ahead: Many things in this Third World War will be very hard. When there have been more than 800 suicide bombers in Iraq alone and several thousand over the last decade worldwide, there is a serious crisis of civilization. We must convince the American people and our allies across the world that fighting this fight is hard but necessary and unavoidable. Losing to the murderous terrorists and their state sponsors who threaten us would be far harder.

In his magnificent book about Abraham Lincoln, The Eloquent President, Ronald White writes that Lincoln proved that "words are actions" -- that people cannot be led until they are first persuaded. Lincoln is an example for our leaders, and for all of us who care about the survival of American civilization. Like him, we must be clear in our thoughts, candid in our words, and rock solid in our resolve. It is up to us first to prove that in this Third World War "words are actions." And then it is up to us to win.

 

The American Eleven

In September of 2006, Congressman Gingrich released an article from Human Events declaring eleven points that he would pursue. One of those eleven dealt with the threats of North Korea and Iran.

Focus on Iran and North Korea. The American people are very prepared to believe we face extraordinary threats from a nuclear North Korea and an Iranian regime actively seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Any actions in Iraq need to be recast in terms of their impact on Iran. A weak America in Iraq will be unable to stop Iran. Stopping Iran is potentially literally a matter of life and death. Congress should hold hearings on the scale of the Iranian and North Korean threat, the statements of their key leaders and the requirements for action to replace these dictatorships before they succeed in killing millions of Americans. The Santorum Iranian democracy bill should be forced out of the Senate in the context of these threats. Everything about Iraq should be debated within this larger and much more dangerous context.

 

WNYC Interview

In November of 2007, Congressman Gingrich was interviewed by WNYC radio. When asked about Iran, Congressman Gingrich stated that allowing Iran to pursue nuclear weapons should not be an option.

 

Response to NIE

In December of 2007, Congressman Gingrich issued an article for the Human Events website that was in response to a National Intelligence Estimate that found credible evidence that Iran had halted it's nuclear program in 2003.

Iran NIE: Bureaucratic Coup D'etat
by Newt Gingrich
12/11/2007

*The following is an excerpt from Newt Gingrich's weekly Winning the Future newsletter:

A handful of highly partisan State Department bureaucrats wrote a document that is so professionally unworthy, so intellectually indefensible and so fundamentally misleading that it is damaging to our national security.

The NIE appears to be a deliberate attempt to undermine the policies of President Bush by members of his own government by suggesting that Iran no longer poses a serious threat to U.S. national security because we apparently have credible reports that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

As a matter of fact, if you read it carefully, you see that the NIE's first sentence and subsequent headline around the world -- "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Teheran halted its nuclear weapons program." -- is rendered meaningless in its intended importance by much of the rest of the report.

Take, for example, the second sentence of the report, which says, "We also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Teheran, at a minimum, is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons."

As I explained to an audience at the Institute of World Politics last week, the NIE authors also acknowledge that Iran has a massive domestic program to enrich uranium, which is a key step in the production of fuel for a nuclear weapon and for a civilian nuclear power plant. But the Iranians have no civilian need for such uranium enrichment. The Russians can provide access to all the fuel Iran needs for its nuclear power plant. Nowhere does the NIE analyze the reasons Iran is enriching uranium, how quickly Iran could convert this enriched uranium for nuclear weapons purposes, and why Iran is defying binding United Nations resolutions that call for a halt of its uranium enrichment.

Then there is this additional sentence from the NIE that is cold comfort for those who want to believe Iran is no longer a threat: "We also assess with high confidence that, since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research-and-development projects with commercial and conventional military applications -- some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons."

And if the Iranians did indeed halt their formal nuclear weapons program in 2003, is it still halted today? Has it restarted? Is it a permanent halt? The NIE addresses this question: "We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether [Iran] is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program."

In non-bureaucratic language: We don't know.

Lastly, what about long-term Iranian political intentions? If in fact the formal Iranian nuclear weapons program was halted in 2003, does it represent a change in heart and a fundamental policy shift away from nuclear weapons or simply a smart, temporary tactical shift? The NIE also considered that question, and its response hasn't been focused on by those who are ready to declare Iran a peaceful nation:

"We assess with moderate confidence that convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult given the linkage many within the leadership probably see between nuclear weapons development and Iran's key national security and foreign policy objectives, and given Iran's considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons. In our judgment, only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons -- and such a decision is inherently reversible."

For a realistic estimation of the Iranian threat, read Michael Ledeen's The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction.

The NIE Is the Tip of the Iceberg: A North Korean-Syrian Nuclear Site?

The individuals who wrote the NIE so that it would generate the headline that Iran has halted its secret nuclear weapons program did a fundamental disservice to the American people. Their actions are a sign that the U.S. intelligence community is wildly out of control and in need of fundamental reform.

Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.) has called for a commission comprised of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats to investigate the accuracy of the NIE and whether politics play a role in how it was written. I support this idea.

But the NIE is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last summer, you may recall, the Israelis bombed a site in Syria. Today, there is a public rumor that the site was a North Korean-Syrian nuclear site. But the thing is nobody is talking about this. No one in the administration will tell the American people if this is true and, if so, what this means to our national security.

It is a fundamental disservice to us as Americans to have such potentially threatening activity going on and not to be told the truth about it. We need an intelligence community that we can trust to tell us the truth.

Or we need leadership that will insist on this minimal standard from its intelligence bureaucracy.

In either case, we need more than we're getting.

 

Dark Cloud Over Iran

In April of 2008, Congressman Gingrich released an article for the website Human Events. That article cited Iran's involvement in the Iraq war and General Petraus's upcoming testimony.

A Dark Cloud on the Horizon: The Continuing Threat of the Iranian Dictatorship

Despite the progress being made in Iraq, Iran remains a major source of violence, terrorism, and instability.

Speaking to reporters last week, Major General Rick Lynch, a U.S. Commander in Baghdad, described facing three enemies in Iraq: Sunni extremists, Shia extremists and Iranian influence.

Here's what Lynch told reporters:

Last night I attended a memorial service for one of my soldiers; he was killed by an explosively-formed penetrator. Tonight I will do the same thing. These Iranian munitions, placed in the hands of the Shi'a extremists, are causing devastating affects on Iraqi security forces, on the coalition forces, and your innocent Iraqi people. And that just has to stop.

As you watch General Petraeus testify, note the details that are coming out about Iranian involvement in Iraq. And remember that Iran is a danger, not just to our troops in Iraq, but to our way of life. Here's how I put it in my AEI speech: "As long as the current dictatorship runs Iran and works every day to create nuclear weapons and to sustain terrorists groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the professional state-sponsored terrorists of the Iranian Guard units, our civilization will not be safe."

 

Iran Must Not Go Nuclear

In December of 2010, Congressman Gingrich wrote an article for Politico and the American Enterprise Institute discussing the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

President Obama and Congress Must Stop Iran's Nuclear Program
By Newt Gingrich | Politico
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Obama administration has pursued a foreign policy that ranges from feckless to reckless, from pursuing fantasies like a global nuclear summit to acts of genuine irresponsibility, like diminishing longstanding relationships with allies like Poland, Israel and Britain.

But of all the national security imperatives facing the administration, none is more critical than preventing Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, from developing nuclear weapons. Now President Barack Obama's actions have actually made the situation more dangerous, not less so.

Obama pledged during the 2008 presidential campaign to negotiate with Iran without preconditions, a naive and utopian promise that has yielded predictably disappointing results.

  • Obama pledged during the 2008 presidential campaign to negotiate with Iran without preconditions, a naive and utopian promise that has yielded predictably disappointing results.
  • On taking office, as part of a diplomatic offensive, Obama videotaped a greeting to the Iranian people for Nowruz, the 12-day holiday marking the New Year in Iran. Tough talk about Iran's nuclear program would wait.

Months passed. In June, the Iranian regime rigged an electoral victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shot protesters in cold blood and arrested others, sentencing them to the Iranian gulag in show trials.

Obama was slow to condemn the violence, apparently still hoping for Iran to voluntarily relinquish its nuclear program--even as Tehran boasted about its uranium enrichment progress. Obama finally set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2009, for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis. The deadline has come and gone with no response from the United States.

The time for delay is over.

Despite sitting atop some of the world's largest proven oil reserves, Iran's Islamic revolutionary government lacks sufficient refinery capacity to turn that oil into the gasoline, diesel and other fuels it needs.

The House and Senate have overwhelmingly passed, with bipartisan support, sanctions bills to curtail shipments of gasoline and other refined petroleum products into Iran. This could force the regime to focus on long-ignored conventional energy problems instead of pursuing nuclear capabilities. The bills passed unanimously in the Senate, and with only 12 "no" votes in the House.

In a shocking act of negligence, the Obama White House has signaled to lawmakers privately it does not want the legislation to reach the president's desk, as the administration chases a false chimera of U.N. sanctions. So sanctions with teeth languish in a conference committee while Iran gets ever closer to possessing a nuclear weapon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should move these two bills out of committee and send them to Obama for his signature by Memorial Day--if not sooner.

Congressional action is only the first step. The administration should also sanction those companies already in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act, which has been on the books for almost 15 years. Penalizing one energy company would send a clear signal that Washington has a policy of zero tolerance when it comes to enabling the Iranian nuclear program.

Second, the Treasury Department should build on its designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a supporter of terrorist by designating major IRGC entities that are dominant players in the Iranian energy sector--sending shockwaves through Iran's energy partners that they are doing business with blacklisted U.S. entities.

Finally, the administration should provide the same kind of tangible, material and moral support to the Green Movement in Iran that President Ronald Reagan gave to the Solidarity movement in Soviet-dominated Poland during the Cold War.

Releasing restrictions on the transfer of communications technology to the Green Movement would give its leadership the vital access it needs to satellite phones, satellite subscriptions and secure computer networks to evade Iranian censors.

We've now learned that as recently as January, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a memo to the president's national security team warning that the administration has no effective policy for dealing with Iran achieving nuclear capability--which many experts predict could take place within a year.

For the president to be so ill prepared for what nearly everyone agrees to be the greatest threat facing the region--and the world--is unacceptable.

If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, and Washington does nothing to stop them, the other nations in the Middle East will be presented with a very clear and very real threat--and will have gotten the message that the United States will do nothing to help.

Their reaction might well be to develop their own nuclear-weapons capabilities, thrusting the world's most dangerous region into a full-blown nuclear arms race.

Putting the crisis off can only make things worse. Washington's options dwindle as Iran gets closer to making its first bomb.

Let's be clear. Every day Pelosi and Reid fail to act, Iran takes another step closer to developing a nuclear weapon. Congress needs to pass a strong sanctions bill and send it to the president's desk before they adjourn for the Memorial Day recess.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 11, 2011 Speaker Gingrich participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked there about Iran and he notes his support for sanctions and anything else to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.

Major Garrett: Mr. Speaker, is this the right way to look at this question, war or not war? Or do you see other options, diplomatically, or other non-war means that the United States has in its possession to deal with Iran that it has not employed?

Newt Gingrich: Well, let me start and say that both the answers you just got are superior to the current administration. And-- you know, there are a number of ways to be smart about-- Iran and relatively few ways to be dumb. And the administration skipped all the ways to be smart.

Major Garrett: Could you tell us the smart ways, Mr. Speaker?

Newt Gingrich: Sure. First of all, as maximum covert operations-- to block and disrupt the Iranian program-- in-- including-- taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems. All of it covertly, all of it deniable. Second, maximum-- maximum coordination with the Israelis-- in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran. Third, absolute strategic program comparable to what President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher did in the Soviet Union, of every possible aspect short of war of breaking the regime and bringing it down. And I agree entirely with Governor Romney, if in the end, despite all of those things-- the dictatorship persists, you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon.

 

CNN National Security Debate

Congressman Gingrich participated in the national security debate on CNN on November 22, 2011. When asked about Iran, Speaker Gingrich reasserts his view that allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon is not accetable. He also supports sanctions on Iran's gas imports and sanctions to their banks.

BLITZER: The argument, Speaker Gingrich -- and I know you've studied this, and I want you to weigh in -- on the sanctioning of the Iranian Central Bank, because if you do that, for all practical purposes, it cuts off Iranian oil exports, 4 million barrels a day.

The Europeans get a lot of that oil. They think their economy, if the price of gasoline skyrocketed, which it would, would be disastrous. That's why the pressure is on the U.S. to not impose those sanctions. What say you?

GINGRICH: Well, I say you -- the question you just asked is perfect, because the fact is we ought to have a massive all-sources energy program in the United States designed to, once again, create a surplus of energy here, so we could say to the Europeans pretty cheerfully, that all the various sources of oil we have in the United States, we could literally replace the Iranian oil.

Now that's how we won World War II.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: So, I think you put your finger, Wolf, on the -- on the -- you know, we all get sucked into these tactical discussions. We need a strategy of defeating and replacing the current Iranian regime with minimum use of force. We need a strategy, as Rick Santorum was saying, of being honest about radical Islam and designing a strategy to defeat it wherever it happens to exist.

We need a strategy in central Asia that recognizes that, frankly, if you're Pashtun, you don't care whether you're in Pakistan or Afghanistan, because you have the same tribal relationships. So we need to be much more strategic and less tactical in our discussion.

But if we were serious, we could break the Iranian regime, I think, within a year, starting candidly with cutting off the gasoline supply to Iran, and then, frankly, sabotaging the only refinery they have.

BLITZER: But sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank now, is that a good idea or a bad idea?

GINGRICH: I think it's a good idea if you're serious about stopping them having nuclear -- I mean, I think replacing the regime before they get a nuclear weapon without a war beats replacing the regime with war, which beats allowing them to have a nuclear weapon. Those are your three choices.

...

BLITZER: I'm going to bring Governor Huntsman in, but very quickly, Mr. Speaker, would you, if you were president of the United States, bomb Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power?

GINGRICH: Only as a last recourse and only as a step towards replacing the regime. No bombing campaign which leaves the regime in charge is going to accomplish very much in the long run. You have to seriously talk about regime replacement, not just attacking them.

But I will also say -- this is, I guess, where I disagree with my good friend Ron Paul. If my choice was to collaborate with the Israelis on a conventional campaign or force them to use their nuclear weapons, it will be an extraordinarily dangerous world if out of a sense of being abandoned they went nuclear and used multiple nuclear weapons in Iran. That would be a future none of us would want to live through.

 

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

This representative has not been identified as sponsoring or cosponsoring significant legislation related to this title.

Mitt Romney

Summary

Governor Romney has taken a hard line stance on the relationship with Iran. He supports strong economic sanctions, possible diplomatic isolation of Iran, and ensuring that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. He has maintained these views throughout the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. 

2008 Presidential Campaign

In an appearance on "This Week" in February of 2007, Governor Romney stated that Iran was involved with attacks on US soldiers in Iraq, and that attempts to engage in talks with Iran were timidity. He called for tighter sanctions, and referred to Iran as a suicidal nation.

Throughout the remainder of 2007, Governor Romney granted interviews, made TV appearances, and gave speeches in which he touted a 5 part plan for dealing with Iran. This plan consisted of tighter economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, communicating to the Iranian people about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, engaging the moderate Muslim states in the neighborhood, and putting together a much broader comprehensive strategy to defeat radical jihad in the world of Islam.

Post 2008 Election

In October of 2009, Governor Romney reacted to statements made by President Obama that Iran could be talked with by saying that a charm offensive will not talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons, and that agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea.

Later in that same month, Governor Romney stated that the Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany. He also stated that the military option must remain on the table -- and that threat needs to be credible. He stated in an op-ed that the Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, and ultimately the world. He called it a repressive regime… an intractable enemy of liberty and human rights… the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and subversive war and that the threat it poses to the world would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power.

2012 Presidential Election

In a foreign policy debate in November of 2011, Governor Romney asserted that President Obama should have made sure that Iran knows that it cannot obtain a nuclear weapon. He stated that President Obama should have made it clear that in the final analysis, if necessary, the US will take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. He asserted that if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and if we elect him, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.

That same month, Governor Romney wrote a foreign policy paper in which he asserted that three steps needed to be taken to address Iran. The first of these was a fifth round of sanctions against Iran and continuing attempting to get these sanctions passed in the UN. He also called for greater diplomatic isolation.

The second item Governor Romney would pursue would be to support the emergence of a democratic alternative to the current repressive and reckless regime in Tehran. This would include the recognition of the strong national interest we have in the success of the Arab Spring in Syria and the removal of the Bashar al-Assad regime. 

The final piece that Governor Romney supports is the completion of the missile defense system in time. This would include reverting to President Bush's original plan of deploying proven interceptor technology in Poland if it becomes clear that Iran is making faster progress on developing long range missiles than the Obama plan assumes or if the new technologies on which the plan relies fail to materialize in a timely fashion.

This three part plan of action was mirrored on Governor Romney's campaign website for most of the 2012 election. It was updated to include a fouth facet stating that a credible military option must remain in place to deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weaepons. That section states that U.S. policy toward Iran must begin with an understanding on Iran’s part that a military option to deal with their nuclear program remains on the table. This message should not only be delivered through words, but through actions. This includes restoring the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously, and increased communications and relations with Israel.

In March of 2012, Governor Romney delivered taped remarks to the AIPAC Policy Conference. In those remarks, he asserted that he woud bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end. He stated that he would not delay in imposing further crippling sanctions and fully implementing existing ones, and that he will make sure Iran knows of the very real peril that awaits if it becomes nuclear. He also stated that he would engage Iran’s neighbors and station multiple carriers and warships at Iran’s door. He also noted the need to stand with the Syrian people against Assad as that regime was one of Iran's closest allies.

 

ABC This Week

On February 16, 2007 Governor Romney was interviewed by George Stephanopoulis and discussed the ability of Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and the role of the US in stopping an Iranian attack.

George Stephanopoulos: Sen. Clinton took to the Senate floor earlier this week and said the president does not have the authority he needs to take military action against Iran.

Do you agree?

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.: I don't know about the constitutional definition that Sen. Clinton is referring to. I think the president has whatever authority is necessary to protect this country and protect our troops.

I think [the] Iranian military has been involved in the conflict in Iraq. Iranians have supported the attack on our soldiers.

But I don't think for a minute that this president is intent on attacking Iran. That's not where we're aiming. That's not going to happen. We have no interest in going into Iran.

But we do have interest in making sure that they do not develop additional nuclear technology and, in my view, that's where Sen. Clinton has gone off the right track.

She's suggesting engaging with Iran. That's a timidity that's not right. This is a time to tighten our sanctions, economic, because they're having an impact, and to increase our diplomatic isolation of Iran and communicate to the Iranian people, as well as to its religious leadership that there is a downside to having fissile material in your country and, that is, if that material falls in the hands of terrorists who use it, that the world community is not going to just respond to the terrorists, it's going to respond to who provided that material.

So we've got some education to do and we've got some tightening to do, but negotiation and engaging with the Iranians at this point is not the way to go and neither is invading them.

Stephanopoulos: But to be clear, if you were president, would you use military action to stop the Iranians from building a nuclear weapon?

Romney: Well, not now. But, of course, the military option has to be on the table. Anyone who's considering being president hopefully will say that military options are always on the table when you consider a nation, which is a genocidal nation, a suicidal nation, in some respects, coming from Ahmadinejad, you say to yourself this is a setting where, of course, you have to consider the possibility of military action, but we're not there.

Stephanopoulos: Suicidal, what do you mean by that?

Romney: Well, it's a nation where people participate in suicide bombing and that kind of a suggestion, I think it was former President Rafsanjani who talked about Israel being a one-bomb nation, meaning they could not survive one bomb, but they, Iran, could survive one bomb.

It's like, 'Are you kidding? Are you suggesting that you'd be willing to take a bomb in order to eliminate another people?' This is a nation where the genocidal inclination is really frightening and having a nation of this nature develop nuclear weaponry is unacceptable to this country and to the Middle East.

And that's why I believe we should not be sitting down having a nice chat with the Iranians, but instead communicating to the religious leadership and the people that the consequences of going nuclear are very unattractive.

That's a message we should be sending throughout the world.

 

Real Clear Politics Interview

In February of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by Real Clear Politics. The interviewed covered a number of subjects, and Iran was one of those subjects.

RCP: On a related subject: Iran. You made some comment yesterday about Iran. If Iran hasn't acquired nuclear weapons by January 2009 when President Romney takes office, would they acquire them under a Romney administration?

ROMNEY: I think it's unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Unacceptable to our interests and to the interest of the civilized world. For that reason I think we should exert every source of our world pressure to keep Iran from pursuing that course. And, of course, the military option must be left on the table

In my view, at this stage, we should be doing as the Bush administration has begun, which is tightening economic sanctions, as well as tightening diplomatic isolation, we should be communicating to the Iranian people the downsides of becoming a nuclear power, we should be engaging the moderate Muslim states in the neighborhood to help put pressure as well on Iran and to help us by taking pressure off of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Finally, in my view, we should be putting together a much broader comprehensive strategy to defeat radical jihad in the world of Islam.

RCP: So, just to phrase it a different way, it's your view that the national security risk to the United States of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon outweighs -

ROMNEY: Is extreme...

RCP: and outweighs any sort of adverse effect or fallout that might come from attacking them either with airstrikes and/or some sort of ground force.

ROMNEY: You know I won't describe precisely what action should be taken or how it would be taken, but clearly the consequences of a nuclear Iraq - excuse me, a nuclear Iran - for the world and for America are so severe that military options have to remain on the table. Those options I have not discussed in great depth with the US military, so I'm not going to describe what particular path would be considered, but I can say that given the fact that we would never want to pursue a military option unless we had pursued every other reasonable option, I want to make sure we are aggressively pursuing those other options. And those other options relate to tightening economic sanctions so that Ahmadinejad is increasingly unpopular in his own country, so that religious leaders like Khamenei, as well as the public at large, are dissatisfied with him and ultimately sweep him from power, or cause him to withdraw his nuclear ambition. And that's why it's so important for us -

RCP: Do you think that's probable?

ROMNEY: Yeah, I think that - in fact the Bush administration's restrictions on credit and banking are already having an impact. Ahmadinejad did fall behind in the most recent elections. Our intelligence in Iran is somewhat limited, as it is throughout the Middle East, but there is indication among some observers that Ahmadinejad is on a bit of thin ice and that if we were to continue to exert extensive pressure on his economy and the diplomatic reception that he and his fellow Iranians receive around the world that that could have the desired effect of either causing him to retreat to a certain degree or to be replaced by a leader that had more moderate views.

 

Fox News Appearance

In March of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on Fox News and spoke about Iran. He stated that the US should tighten sanctions, and that diplomatic isolation should be the rule of the day. He also called for companies to move their pensions funds away from companies that do business with Iran.

 

Yeshiva University Remarks

On April 26, 2007 Governor Romney spoke at Yeshiva University about Israel and Iran. On the topic of Iran, Governor Romney stated that the US and Israel's other allies need to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. To address the Iranian threat, Governor Romney put forth a 5 point plan which included tighter sanctions, diplomatic isolation, coordination with Arab allies, threat of a military response if Iran goes nuclear, and a global campaign against “radical Islam.”

And fifth, we have to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Their ambition to develop nuclear weaponry is clear: they have a virtually inexhaustible supply of clean natural gas for energy, they have refused Russia's offer to supply nuclear fuel for their power. Obviously, their nuclear ambition has nothing to do with clean energy.

Ahmadinejad has gone beyond the boundary of outrage, beginning with his calculated desecration of history. His purpose is not only to deny the Holocaust; it is to deny Israel. He is doing what another evil man did before him: conditioning minds to acquiesce to the elimination of a people.

In January I was at the Herzliya conference and I discussed the threat of Iran. Since then, Iran continues to operate its nuclear program in defiance of the UN Security Council. It's expanded its centrifuge operations in Natanz. It's issued a new banknote that features a red nuclear symbol superimposed on the map of Iran.

Earlier this month, Iran boasted the production of nuclear fuel on an 'industrial level' with a goal of installing 50,000 centrifuges. On April 9th, Iran marked a new national holiday - 'Nuclear Day.' Just look at the extent of their activity. These show the nuclear sites in Iran. This is not a little narrow project. Does the world understand what's going on here? Do they recognize the threat which is posed by this nuclear-developing nation?

Some people, of course, think that it's possible to live with a nuclear Iran. That thinking is based on the theory that Iran , once it's granted the privilege of becoming a member of the nuclear club, that it will be a responsible actor.

Neither their words nor their actions justify that kind of thinking.

Others believe that frankly back in the logic of deterrence, which served us through the Cold War - that that will protect us. But for all of the Soviet Union's deep flaws, they were never suicidal. A Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. And that assumption simply can't be made about an irrational regime that celebrates martyrdom like Iran.

It's time to take Ahmadinejad at his word and act accordingly. We are going to continue to work, we'll work with the UN, we'll encourage China and Russia to work with us at the UN Security Council.

But the U.S.and Europe can't afford to wait.

I have proposed a strategy to combat Iran's nuclear ambition. Let me describe just a few of the elements.

First, we should severely tighten economic sanctions. I think the Bush Administration deserves a lot of recognition for restricting access to our banking and credit services, because financial, and credit and monetary penalties are some of the most effective sanctions there are. And we must get other nations to act now to follow our lead.

In my meetings in Israel in January it became clear to me that pension funds, such as the one here in New York City, have invested in companies like the French oil giant, Total. After New York State named its Comptroller, I wrote him, and I also wrote to Governor Spitzer, and Senators Schumer and Clinton and urged them to disinvest from companies that have significant operations in collaboration with Iranian regimes.

Second, I think it's important for us to isolate Iran diplomatically. Their leaders should be made to feel exactly like those of Apartheid South Africa, or worse. That's why I ordered the state police of Massachusetts to refuse security details for former Iranian President Khatami when he came to Harvard.

Of course, we can communicate and talk with Iran and I support the upcoming efforts to discuss security in Iraq with Iraq's leaders and their neighbors in the region. But until there are indications that high level engagement would do anything other than reward bad behavior, I don't believe that we should be engaging Iran in direct, bilateral negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. Iran's nuclear intransigence is repulsive to the entire world and we shouldn't let Iran try to position it as an Iran vs. a US thing.

Now there is one place of course where I'd welcome Ahmadinejad with open arms: and that's in a court where he would stand trial for incitement to genocide, under the terms of the Genocide Convention.

There's a third effort. Arab states need to join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do a lot more than just wring their hands and urge America to do all the work. They should support Iraq's nascent government; they can help America's focus on Iran quickly by turning down the temperature on the Arab-Israeli conflict; they can stop the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hezbollah; and they must tell their Palestinian friends to drop their campaign of terror and recognize Israel's right to exist.

This one's a little sensitive. Listen carefully. Fourth, we have to make it clear to the Iranian people that while nuclear capabilities may be the source of pride, they can also be a source of peril. If nuclear material from Iran falls into the hands of terrorists and is used, it would provoke a devastating response from the entire civilized world to the very nation that supplied it.

There is yet another source of Jihadist nuclear danger, beyond Iran. It's the pursuit by Jihadists of acquiring what are commonly known as 'loose nukes.' The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which was launched last year, was a good start, but we need to accelerate and expand it.

 

Reaction to Ahmadinejad Speech

In September of 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. Governor Romney stated that he should not be allowed to make that speech, but rather President Ahmadinejad should be indicted under the Geneva Convention.

The Iranian regime under President Ahmadinejad has spoken openly about wiping Israel off the map, has fueled Hezbollah's terror campaign in the region and around the world and defied the world community in its pursuit of nuclear weapons -- capabilities that make these threats even more ominous.

... I think the invitation should be withdrawn. I think instead, Ahmadinejad should be indicted under the Genocide Convention.

 

This Week Appearance

On June 14, 2009 Governor Romney appeared on ABC's This Week and was asked about the recent uprising in Iran in response to flawed election results. 

 

MSNBC Appearance

In July of 2009 Governor Romney appeared on Morning Joe on MSNBC and discussed recent long range missile launches by Iran and the broader US relationship with Iran.

 

AIPAC Speech

In October of 2009, Governor Romney spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in San Diego and criticized President Obama's view that Iran should be talked with instead of acted against.

Stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It will not. And agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea.

Once an outstretched hand is met with a clenched fist, it becomes a symbol of weakness and impotence.

Unfortunately, for reasons that are unfathomable to me, our government has signaled that the military option is effectively off the table. How can that be countenanced when an ally of the United States faces an existential threat? 

 

Op-Ed - Iran Biggest Threat Since Soviet Union

In October of 2009, Governor Romney wrote an op-ed discussing the threat posed by Iran in relation to the US's history with the Soviet Union.

Iran: Biggest Threat Since Soviets
by Mitt Romney
10/22/2009

The Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has gone well beyond the boundary of outrage -- beginning with his calculated desecration of history. When he denies the Holocaust, he could care less about history. His point is about the present and the future. His purpose is not merely to deny the Holocaust, but also to deny Israel. He is testing the waters. He wants to know who will object. And how they will register their objection.

That’s why it was so shocking last month when the United Nations gave a platform to a Holocaust-denier who has pledged over and over again that he will wipe out Israel. It was a grotesque moment and another stain on the reputation of the U.N. And congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu for having the moral courage to say what needed to be said to those members of the United Nations who stayed to listen to Ahmadinejad -- "Have you no shame!”

I will happily agree that the U.N. has done some good in its history. But I will also insist that it has also done terrible damage to the causes it claims to uphold. And on no issue has it been more irresponsible and morally reckless than when considering the fate of Israel.

The Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, and ultimately the world. It is a repressive regime… an intractable enemy of liberty and human rights… the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and subversive war. The threat it poses to the world would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power.

Earlier this month, senior staff members of the U.N. nuclear agency concluded in a confidential analysis that Iran has acquired “sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable” atom bomb. We also learned of a previously secret, illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom.

A nuclear Iran would be a tipping point in the proliferation of nuclear regimes, and yet America still has not taken critical steps to immediately dissuade Iran from its nuclear folly.

At this late stage, I would simply say that it is long past time for America to recognize the nature of the regime we are dealing with. The Iranian regime is unalloyed evil, run by people who are at once ruthless and fanatical. We should stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It will not. And agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea. Once an outstretched hand is met with a clenched fist, it becomes a symbol of weakness and impotence. President Eisenhower said it well: “The care of freedom is not long entrusted to the weak and timid.”

The President of the United States can employ his admiration and good will to actually accomplish something meaningful and real in Iran -- comprehensive, withering sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and international support for the forces of freedom within Iran.The people of Iran represent a major source of strength. By and large, they have not been radicalized by their government and clerics; in fact, the regime’s effort to crush the uprising against it has only alienated the people of Iran. They fear economic stagnation and they hate political repression. Most are not seeking a military confrontation with the West. Indeed, most want greater engagement with the West.

And the military option must remain on the table -- and that threat needs to be credible. Unfortunately -- for reasons that are unfathomable to me -- our government has signaled that the military option is effectively off the table. How can that be countenanced when an ally of the United States faces an existential threat?

I don’t pretend for a moment that the course of action to take with Iran is easy or obvious; there are costs to anything we do, but there are even greater costs if we do nothing at all. If we allow Iran under the rule of the mullahs to get a nuclear weapon, it will make the problems America faces today look like a walk in the park.

The clock is ticking, with no real progress to show for the precious time that has already lapsed.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 11, 2011 Governor Romney participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked there about Iran and he states that he will not allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon. He supports sanctions and regime change.

Scott Pelley: Governor Romney, would it be worth goin' to war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?

Mitt Romney: Well, let's-- let's start back from there and let's talk about where we are. This is, of course, President Obama's greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America and the world faces-- and faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took the streets and say, "America is with you." And work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents.

Number two, he should have put-- put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. But instead of getting Russia, for instance, to-- what-- what he gave in our-- our missile defense system to agree to-- to stand with those crippling sanctions, he gave Russia what they wanted, their number one foreign policy objective, and got nothing in return.

(CBS News) Scott Pelley: Governor, on the question. We're gonna adherer to time, very quickly. But let me--

Mitt Romney: I get 60 seconds.

Scott Pelley: Yes, sir, and that was--

Mitt Romney: That was 30.

Scott Pelley: The-- the 60--

Mitt Romney: Sorry, it started at yellow, so I-- I have much more time to go.

Scott Pelley: You-- you know what, Governor? I stand corrected. You are right. Please continue.

Mitt Romney: Fin-- finally, the president should have built credible-- threat of military action, and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know-- and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you'd like me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon.

Scott Pelley: But sir, let me-- you just described where we are today, and that's what you're going to have to deal with if you become president. How do you prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon? Is it worth going to war to prevent that?

Mitt Romney: Well, it's worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It's worth working with the insurgents in the company to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we've done, there's nothing else we can do beside mil-- take military action, then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. This term "unacceptable" has been applied by several presidents over history, and our current president has made it very clear that he's not willing to do those things necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. I will take a different course. I will make sure that the sanctions, diplomatic pressure, economic pressure, and support of insurgents within the country help them become dissuaded to get away from their nuclear ambition. And finally--

Scott Pelley: This time, it is time.

Mitt Romney: Yeah, and finally, have to-- have to have military presence there.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Romney participated in the national security debate on CNN.  He calls for "crippling sanctions" on Iran, indicting Ahmadinejad for violating the Geneva -- or the Genocide Convention.

ROMNEY: OK. Let's just talk about what they're cutting with the first $350 billion, not the next $600 which is coming down the road. The first $350 billion, what do they cut? They stopped the F-22. They delayed aircraft carriers. They stopped the Navy cruiser system. They said long range Air Force bombers aren't going to be built. They're trying to cut our troops by 50,000. The list goes on.

They're cutting programs that are cutting the capacity of America to defend itself. Look, let's stand back for a moment, because we've been talking about Israel and Iran. What we're talking about here is a failure on the part of the president to lead with strength.

And that's why we have discussions about whether Israel should have to step in to stop the nuclear program, whether Iran is going to become nuclear. We have a president who pursued an agenda of saying we're going to be friendly to our foes and we're going to be disrespectful to our friends.

The right course in America is to stand up to Iran with crippling sanctions, indict Ahmadinejad for violating the Geneva -- or the Genocide Convention, put in place the kind of crippling sanctions that stop their economy. I know it's going to make gasoline more expensive. There's no price which is worth an Iranian nuclear weapon.

And the right course for Israel is to show that we care about Israel, that they are our friend, we'll stick with them. If I'm president of the United States, my first trip -- my first foreign trip will be to Israel to show the world we care about that country and that region.

 

Foreign Policy Paper

In November of 2011, Governor Romney's presidential campaign put out a white paper on foreign policy. One of the countries covered in this white paper was Iran.

Iran

Mitt Romney believes that it is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. Should Iran achieve its nuclear objective, the entire geostrategic landscape of the Middle East would tilt in favor of the ayatollahs. A nuclear Iran will pose an existential threat to Israel, whose security is a vital U.S. national interest. As Iran’s ballistic missile capacity improves, it will endanger Europe and eventually the continental United States. It will provoke an arms race in which the Arab nations themselves forge ahead with nuclear programs of their own. The result will be a nightmarish cascade of nuclear tensions in the worst’s most volatile region. Iran’s sponsorship of international terrorism would take on a new and terrifying dimension.

As president, Mitt Romney’s strategy will be to end Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, eliminate the threat of Iranian nuclear terrorism against the United States and our allies, and prevent nuclear proliferation across the Middle East. U.S. policy toward Iran must begin with an understanding on Iran’s part that a military option to deal with their nuclear program remains on the table. This message should not only be delivered through words, but through actions. The United States should restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously. The United States should repair relations with Israel, increase military coordination and assistance, and enhance intelligence sharing to ensure that our allied capabilities are robust and ready to deal with Iran. The United States should also increase military coordination with our Arab allies in the region and conduct more naval exercises as a demonstration of strength and resolve. Only if Iran understands that the United States is utterly determined when we say that their nuclear-weapons program is unacceptable is there a possibility that they will give up their nuclear aspirations peacefully.

Implement a Fifth Round of Tougher Sanctions: Sanctions are not ends in themselves. They are intended to persuade Iran to change course and abandon its nuclear program. President Obama deserves credit for pushing for a fourth round of international sanctions on Iran early in his term, just as before him President Bush deserved credit for the three previous rounds. But time has shown that existing sanctions have not led the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear aspirations. We therefore need to ratchet up our pressure on Iran with a fifth round of sanctions targeted at the financial resources that underpin the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guard Corps, focusing on restrictions on the Central Bank of Iran, as well as other financial institutions. We should place sanctions on all business activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which include much of Iran’s petroleum industry. To stanch the flow of the petroleum commerce that supports the Iranian regime, we should pursue sanctions on firms that transport such products to and from Iran.

Ideally, these sanctions would be implemented through the U.N. Security Council, but persuading Russia and China to go along might prove impossible. In the absence of a U.N. imprimatur, the United States should be ready to take action in conjunction with as many willing governments as possible. And if necessary, we should be prepared to act on our own. To that end, Mitt Romney will step up enforcement of existing U.S. laws that bar commerce with Iran, such as the exportation of refined petroleum products to Iran.

Romney will also push for greater diplomatic isolation of Iran. The United States should make it plain that it is a disgrace to provide Iran’s Holocaust-denying president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the trappings and respect offered to responsible heads of state. He should not be invited to foreign capitals or feted by foreign leaders. Quite the opposite. Given his calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, Ahmadinejad should be indicted for incitement to genocide under Article III of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Support the Iranian Opposition: In 2009, President Obama refrained from supporting the nascent Green Movement as it was facing a violent crackdown by the Iranian regime. As protestors demonstrating against a stolen election were shot down in the streets, President Obama stated he did not want to “meddle” in Iranian affairs, fearing that his unconditional outreach to the Iranian regime would be endangered if he did so. This was a disgraceful abdication of American moral authority.

Mitt Romney would make plain that the United States supports the emergence of a democratic alternative to the current repressive and reckless regime in Tehran. He would work to improve the flow of information to the Iranian population about its own government’s repressive activities. He would recognize the strong national interest we have in the success of the Arab Spring in Syria and the removal of the Bashar al-Assad regime, Iran’s closest ally. And Romney will not stand silent while the Iranian regime ruthlessly terrorizes its own people.

Commit to the On-Time Completion of a Fully Capable Missile Defense System: The united States and our European and Middle Eastern allies have a vital interest in establishing a fully operational and effective missile defense system in Eastern Europe to create a protective umbrella against Iranian nuclear weapons. Under pressure from Russia, President Obama early in his term scrapped President Bush’s plan to deploy ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic. He instead favored a plan that featured a longer development timeline based upon technologies that have not yet been developed. He has since partially reversed course to reassure our allies who were alarmed by his abrupt about-face and subsequently clarified that his new program will also feature interceptors in Poland along with interceptors in Romania and a radar system in Turkey, all to be built in stages through 2020. As president, Mitt Romney is willing to commit to deploying missile defenses in Europe along that timeline, but he will do so with the following two qualifications.

First, Romney would reserve the option of reverting to President Bush's original plan of deploying proven interceptor technology in Poland if it becomes clear that Iran is making faster progress on developing long range missiles than the Obama plan assumes or if the new technologies on which the plan relies fail to materialize in a timely fashion. If Iran is going to deploy intercontinental missiles sooner than 2020, the United States should retain the option of defending against them.

Second, Romney would make clear that while he is willing to cooperate with Russia on missile defense in ways that will enhance the overall effectiveness of the missile-defense system, he will not compromise the capability of the system or yield operational control of it. Russia must abandon any backdoor scheme to constrain our missile defenses. The United States should never give Russia a veto over our security and that of our allies.

 

AIPAC Policy Conference

In March of 2012, Governor Romney sent a video to the AIPAC policy conference. His super-Tuesday schedule prevented him from being present at the event, but the text of that video is shown below.

MITT ROMNEY DELIVERS REMARKS TO AIPAC POLICY CONFERENCE

Mitt Romney | March 6, 2012

Thank you for the opportunity to address the AIPAC Policy Conference. And thanks to Teddy and Ed, who have been great friends, supporters, and teachers over the years.

I regret that my Super Tuesday travel schedule prevents me from being with you in person. But while I can’t be with you, I stand with you. I share your commitment to a strong and secure Israel. And I salute your tireless work to strengthen our alliance.

This year, we are gathering at a dangerous time for Israel and for America. Not since the dark days of 1967 and 1973 has the Middle East faced peril as it does today. This is a critical moment. America must not – and, if I am President, it will not – fail this defining test of history.

The current administration has distanced itself from Israel and visibly warmed to the Palestinian cause. It has emboldened the Palestinians. They are convinced that they can do better at the UN – and better with America – than they can at the bargaining table with Israel.

As President, I will treat our allies and friends like friends and allies.

In recent days and weeks, we’ve heard a lot of words from the administration. Its clear message has been to warn Israel to consider the costs of military action against Iran. I do not believe that we should be issuing public warnings that create distance between the United States and Israel. Israel does not need public lectures about how to weigh decisions of war and peace. It needs our support.

Israel’s democratically elected leaders will always be welcomed and respected by my administration. Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend; he’s an old friend. We worked together over 30 years ago at the Boston Consulting Group. He is a leader whose intellect and courage I admire – and whose family’s sacrifice I profoundly respect. In a Romney administration, there will be no gap between our nations or between our leaders.

I have seen Israel by land and by air. I have seen its narrow waist, and its vulnerability to positions on the Golan Heights. I have spent time with families in Sderot who have been terrorized by rocket barrages from Gaza. I have walked the streets of Jerusalem, seen schools pocked by rifle rounds fired from the foreboding hills that nearly surround it. I would never call for a return to the ’67 lines because I understand that in Israel, geography is security.

I have studied the writings and speeches of the jihadists. They argue for a one-state solution—one all-dominating radical Islamist state, that is. Their objective is not freedom, not prosperity, not a Palestinian state, but the destruction of Israel. And negotiating and placating such jihadists will never, ever yield peace in the Middle East.

I recognize in the ayatollahs of Iran the zealot refrain of dominion. Their passion for the martyrdom of Arab youth is matched only by their cowardice in avoiding it for themselves. Nuclear ambition is pursued by Iran to dominate, to subjugate, and to obliterate. A nuclear Iran is not only a problem for Israel; it is also a problem for America and the world.

We may not know when Iran will secure sufficient fissile material to threaten the world, but the IAEA warns that that the hour is fast approaching.

In the Gulf, Iran prepares to close the Strait of Hormuz, to hold hostage 20 percent of the world’s oil. In their nuclear laboratories, they prepare the means to hold hostage the entire planet.

Iran has long engaged in terrorism around the world, most recently in Georgia and in Thailand. In Washington, DC, Iran plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador by bombing a Georgetown restaurant. Iran has deployed Hezbollah and Hamas and armed the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan, killing our sons and daughters. They war against America.

Yet, the current administration has promoted a policy of engagement with Iran. The President offered to sit down with Ahmadinejad during his first year in office without preconditions. He sat silent as Iranian dissidents took to the streets of Tehran, not wanting to disrupt the potential opportunity for dialogue with Iran’s fanatical tyrants. This President not only dawdled in imposing crippling sanctions, he has opposed them.

Hope is not a foreign policy. The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.

Of course, the administration’s naïve outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most. It gave them time. Whatever sanctions they may now belatedly impose, Iran has already gained three invaluable years.

There are some in this administration who argue that Iran’s leaders are “rational,” and that we can do business with them. The President speaks of common interests. Let me be clear: we do not have common interests with a terrorist regime. Their interest is in the destruction of Israel and the domination of the Middle East. It is profoundly irrational to suggest that the ayatollahs think the way we do or share our values. They do not.

I will bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end. I will not delay in imposing further crippling sanctions, and I will not hesitate to fully implement the ones we currently have. I will make sure Iran knows of the very real peril that awaits if it becomes nuclear. I will engage Iran’s neighbors. I will station multiple carriers and warships at Iran’s door. I will stand with the Syrian people who are being mercilessly slaughtered. I know that the fall of Assad would not only be an important victory for liberty, but also a strategic blow to Tehran.

As President, I will be ready to engage in diplomacy. But I will be just as ready to engage our military might. Israel will know that America stands at its side, in all conditions and in all consequence.

Of course, American strength abroad depends upon our strength at home. My economic plans will buttress our capacity to project power. And as President, I will repair and strengthen our military. President Obama wants to shrink our Navy, our Air Force, and our contingent of fighting men and women. I will expand them. A military in retreat invites adventurism by the world’s worst actors, just as we are seeing today. A strong and superior military is the best ally peace has ever known. I do not seek military superiority solely for the purpose of winning wars. I seek it to prevent wars.

As President, peace will be my solemn goal. A peace based not on empty assurances, but on true security and defensible borders. This will require American strength, and a demonstration of our resolve. That’s why, as President, my first foreign trip will not be to Cairo or Riyadh or Ankara. It will be to Jerusalem.

We will make clear to the world that Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state is a vital national interest of the United States.

I believe the right course is what Ronald Reagan called “peace through strength.” There is a reason why the Iranians released the hostages on the same day and at the same hour that Reagan was sworn into office. As President, I will offer that kind of clarity, strength, and resolve.

In a Romney administration, the world will know that the bond between Israel and America is unbreakable – and that our opposition to a nuclear Iran is absolute. We must not allow Iran to have the bomb or the capacity to make a bomb. Our enemies should never doubt our resolve and our allies should never doubt our commitment.

This is a critical time, and AIPAC has a vital voice. Together, let’s achieve peace for the region and ensure a secure future for Israel – and America.

God bless America, and God bless our friendship with Israel.

 

Meet the Press

On September 9, 2012 Governor Romney appeared on Meet the Press and discussed a number of issues. One of those issues was Iran. Governor Romney again asserted that a nuclear Iran was not acceptable. He went on to call for "crippling sanctions" against the country.

GREGORY: But he used some pretty tough words in talking about you, saying you and Paul Ryan are, quote, “New to foreign policy. Want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.” Said you were stuck in a Cold War time warp. Pretty-- pretty tough stuff and suggesting you're not ready on day one to be the commander-in-chief.

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I can certainly look at his record and I think one can say that he's had some successes and he's had some failures. And perhaps the biggest failure is as it relates to the greatest threat that America faces and the world faces, which is the nuclear Iran. The president has not drawn us further away from a nuclear Iran and in fact Iran is closer to having a weapon, closer to having nuclear capability than when he took office. This is the greatest failure, in my opinion, of his foreign policy. He ran for office saying he was going to meet with Ahmadinejad. He was going to meet with Castro, Kim Jong Il. All the world's worst actors, without precondition, he'd meet with them in his first year. He put--

GREGORY: President Bush said that he would stop Iran from going nuclear. So did President Obama. Neither one were able to achieve that. Correct?

MR. ROMNEY: President Obama had a policy of engagement with Ahmadinejad. That policy has not worked and we're closer to a nuclear weapon as a result of that. I will have a very different approach with regards to Iran. And it's an approach which, by the way, the president's finally getting closer to. It begins with crippling sanctions. That should have been put in place long ago.

GREGORY: Is the country safer or less safe because of President Obama's leadership?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, in some ways safer. Getting rid of Osama bin Laden, I think a success on the part of the president. Authorizing SEAL Team Six, commanding SEAL Team Six to take him out. That was a great accomplishment. Using the drones to strike at al Qaeda targets. I think those are positive developments. I think Iran; however, becoming nuclear is a whole different development and a game changing, threatening development. Threatening not only to our ally, Israel, but threatening the United States of America. And…

GREGORY: Governor…

MR. ROMNEY: …the president has not been successful. And in the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu, "Iran has not changed its nuclear course one iota by virtue of this president's policies." And that's something I intend to change.

GREGORY: What's your red line? You put troops on the ground to stop Iran from going nuclear or can you live with a nuclear Iran and contain it?

MR. ROMNEY: I don't think we live with a nuclear Iran. I think we make it very clear that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable to the United States of America, to civilized nations throughout the world. And that we will maintain every option that's available to us to keep that from happening.

GREGORY: Two presidents have said the very same thing. Why can you succeed on Iran where they could not?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, at the time President Bush was president, Iran was years away from a nuclear weapon. And he pursued diplomacy, as I can think we should continue to pursue diplomatic channels. We should pursue as well the kind of crippling sanctions that I've spoken about when I gave a speech at the Herzliya Conference five years ago. We need to use every resource we have to dissuade them from their nuclear path. But that doesn't mean that we would take off the table our military option. That's something which certainly every American would hope we would never have to use. But we have to maintain it on the table or Iran will, undoubtedly, continue their treacherous course.

 

Campaign Website Statements

Iran

Mitt Romney believes that it is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. Should Iran achieve its nuclear objective, the entire geostrategic landscape of the Middle East would tilt in favor of the ayatollahs. A nuclear Iran will pose an existential threat to Israel, whose security is a vital U.S. national interest. As Iran’s ballistic missile capacity improves, it will endanger Europe and eventually the continental United States. It will provoke an arms race in which the Arab nations themselves forge ahead with nuclear programs of their own. The result will be a nightmarish cascade of nuclear tensions in the world's most volatile region. Iran’s sponsorship of international terrorism would take on a new and terrifying dimension.

As president, Mitt Romney’s strategy will be to end Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, eliminate the threat of Iranian nuclear terrorism against the United States and our allies, and prevent nuclear proliferation across the Middle East.

A Credible Military Option

U.S. policy toward Iran must begin with an understanding on Iran’s part that a military option to deal with their nuclear program remains on the table. This message should not only be delivered through words, but through actions. The United States should restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously. The United States should repair relations with Israel, increase military coordination and assistance, and enhance intelligence sharing to ensure that our allied capabilities are robust and ready to deal with Iran. The United States should also increase military coordination with our Arab allies in the region and conduct more naval exercises as a demonstration of strength and resolve. Only if Iran understands that the United States is utterly determined when we say that their nuclear-weapons program is unacceptable is there a possibility that they will give up their nuclear aspirations peacefully.

Implement a Fifth Round of Tougher Sanctions

Sanctions are not ends in themselves. They are intended to persuade Iran to change course and abandon its nuclear program. President Obama deserves credit for pushing for a fourth round of international sanctions on Iran early in his term, just as before him President Bush deserved credit for the three previous rounds. But time has shown that existing sanctions have not led the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear aspirations. We therefore need to ratchet up our pressure on Iran with a fifth round of sanctions targeted at the financial resources that underpin the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guard Corps, focusing on restrictions on the Central Bank of Iran, as well as other financial institutions. We should place sanctions on all business activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which include much of Iran’s petroleum industry. To stanch the flow of the petroleum commerce that supports the Iranian regime, we should pursue sanctions on firms that transport such products to and from Iran.

Ideally, these sanctions would be implemented through the U.N. Security Council, but persuading Russia and China to go along might prove impossible. In the absence of a U.N. imprimatur, the United States should be ready to take action in conjunction with as many willing governments as possible. And if necessary, we should be prepared to act on our own. To that end, Mitt Romney will step up enforcement of existing U.S. laws that bar commerce with Iran, such as the exportation of refined petroleum products to Iran.

Mitt will also push for greater diplomatic isolation of Iran. The United States should make it plain that it is a disgrace to provide Iran’s Holocaust-denying president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the trappings and respect offered to responsible heads of state. He should not be invited to foreign capitals or feted by foreign leaders. Quite the opposite. Given his calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, Ahmadinejad should be indicted for incitement to genocide under Article III of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Support the Iranian Opposition

In 2009, President Obama refrained from supporting the nascent Green Movement as it was facing a violent crackdown by the Iranian regime. As protestors demonstrating against a stolen election were shot down in the streets, President Obama stated he did not want to “meddle” in Iranian affairs, fearing that his unconditional outreach to the Iranian regime would be endangered if he did so. This was a disgraceful abdication of American moral authority.

Mitt Romney would make plain that the United States supports the emergence of a democratic alternative to the current repressive and reckless regime in Tehran. He would work to improve the flow of information to the Iranian population about its own government’s repressive activities. He would recognize the strong national interest we have in the success of the Arab Spring in Syria and the removal of the Bashar al-Assad regime, Iran’s closest ally. And Mitt will not stand silent while the Iranian regime ruthlessly terrorizes its own people.

Commit to the On-Time Completion of a Fully Capable Missile Defense System

The United States and our European and Middle Eastern allies have a vital interest in establishing a fully operational and effective missile defense system in Eastern Europe to create a protective umbrella against Iranian nuclear weapons. Under pressure from Russia, President Obama early in his term scrapped President Bush’s plan to deploy ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic. He instead favored a plan that featured a longer development timeline based upon technologies that have not yet been developed. He has since partially reversed course to reassure our allies who were alarmed by his abrupt about-face and subsequently clarified that his new program will also feature interceptors in Poland along with interceptors in Romania and a radar system in Turkey, all to be built in stages through 2020. As president, Mitt Romney is willing to commit to deploying missile defenses in Europe along that timeline, but he will do so with the following two qualifications.

First, Mitt would reserve the option of reverting to President Bush's original plan of deploying proven interceptor technology in Poland if it becomes clear that Iran is making faster progress on developing long range missiles than the Obama plan assumes or if the new technologies on which the plan relies fail to materialize in a timely fashion. If Iran is going to deploy intercontinental missiles sooner than 2020, the United States should retain the option of defending against them.

Second, Mitt would make clear that while he is willing to cooperate with Russia on missile defense in ways that will enhance the overall effectiveness of the missile-defense system, he will not compromise the capability of the system or yield operational control of it. Russia must abandon any backdoor scheme to constrain our missile defenses. The United States should never give Russia a veto over our security and that of our allies.

 

Rick Perry

Summary

In 2007, Governor Perry asked the Employees Retirement System (ERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to divest all investments from companies doing business with Iran. He stated that the reason for the move was in response to Iran's support for those seeking to harm our men and women in uniform.

That same month, Governor Perry stated during a speech that the US cannot turn a blind eye to the agenda of a terrorist state like Iran and their ongoing investment in acts of terror. He stated that Iran is an epicenter for terrorist activity, provides a safe haven, training and equipment to al-Qaeda, and Iran's leaders provide aid and arms to terrorist insurgents fighting American troops in Iraq. 

 

Divestment from Iran

In September of 2007, Governor Perry issued a press statement noting that he was asking the Employees Retirement System (ERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to divest all investments from companies doing business with Iran.

Gov. Perry: TRS, ERS Should Divest Funds from Companies with Ties to Iran
Announces Establishment of Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 • Press Release

DALLAS - Today at an event announcing the establishment of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Rick Perry said he is asking the Employees Retirement System (ERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to divest all investments from companies doing business with Iran.

“The example we set in Texas can have international ramifications. Today I am asking the Employees Retirement System and the Teacher Retirement System, as the keepers of the state’s multibillion dollar investment funds, to divest their respective interests from all companies doing business with Iran,” Perry said. “While Texas cannot set its own foreign policy, we can send a strong message that Texans will not condone Iran’s continued support of those seeking to do harm to our men and women in uniform.”

Approximately 400 internationally-traded companies have ties to Iran.

In addition to Iran’s role in terrorist activities, Gov. Perry expressed concerns about that nation’s aggressive posture toward Israel. The Governor has long supported an American foreign policy that recognizes the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East, one that consistently advocates for the protection and preservation of democratic states in that part of the world, including Israel.

During a recent visit to Israel, the Governor and First Lady met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres, an event that set in motion the establishment of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

“I want Texas to become the preferred location for Israeli companies doing business in the U.S.,” Perry said. “Like Texas, Israel has a long history of growing new technology companies through partnerships that include universities, government and private investors and entrepreneurs. Strengthening relationships between these two ‘Lone Star States’ will benefit our respective economies and increase understanding.”

Texas is Israel’s third largest American trading partner. Israel’s dedication to fostering new technology has made it second only to the U.S. in the number of start-up companies worldwide.

The commercial relationship between Texas and Israel began with agriculture and natural resources and has in recent years grown to include virtually all other major business sectors, including information technology, medical technologies, aerospace and defense, homeland security and energy.

The Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce serves to bring companies and industries together and to bridge the geographic and cultural barriers to benefit businesses in Texas and Israel. Through the chamber, Texas-based member companies will gain access to not only the Israeli market, but also indirectly to other international markets such as European Union countries through trade with Israel.

 

Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce

In September of 2007, Governor Perry issued a press statement noting a speech he made to the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce. He spoke about the threat Iran was to Israel.

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks to the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce
* Note: Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 • Speech

Thank you, Senator Shapiro, for that gracious introduction. It is a pleasure to be here in Dallas today to celebrate the next step in the relationship between a great state and a great country. I have the highest hopes for the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce. I believe Texans share a special kinship with the Israeli people. We are both independent-minded and self-reliant, and our history is grounded in strong stands against impossible odds.

My first impressions of Israel came from the Old Testament. In the Sunday school lessons and sermons taught in my little hometown church, I learned the history of struggle in the Holy Land. Visionary leaders like David, Abraham and Moses inspire me to this day. When I was elected our state’s Agriculture Commissioner, I began working directly with Israeli businesses through the “Texas Israel Exchange” program. We worked hard to build bridges through joint technology research in the areas of agriculture and natural resources. When I made my first visit to the Holy Land in 1993, I was honored to walk in the footsteps of Biblical heroes and meet their descendants face-to-face. Struck by the rapid pace of economic development, I was glad we could work together for the mutual benefit of our states. The commercial relationship between Texas and Israel has grown to include virtually all other major business sectors, including information technology, medical technologies, aerospace and defense, homeland security and energy. Many of these companies grew to maturity as a result of Israel’s vibrant business climate.

Of special interest are your innovative partnerships between universities and entrepreneurs, funded by investment from the public and private sectors. Texas also is making great strides in this area, thanks to our Emerging Technology Fund. Since its creation in 2005, we have invested $95 million in young start-up companies and to bring world-renowned experts to our institutions of higher learning. With it, we are investing in great ideas and the people who have them. I hope that ideas incubating in small Texas companies today will someday become products sold in Israel, through relationships forged in this new Chamber of Commerce.

If you were to ask me my goals for this new undertaking, I would challenge the members of the Texas / Israel Chamber of Commerce to pursue these key objectives. First, I want Texas to become the preferred location for Israeli companies doing business in the U.S. Our business-friendly climate, talented work force and strong education system provide the ideal incentive for relocation, investment or startup operations. Second, we would like commerce to flow in the other direction as well, with more Texas companies, regardless of their size, establishing a presence in Israel. Trade is about mutual benefit and that is not just possible, but a necessity here. Thirdly, I would like to continue efforts to connect the massive brainpower of our respective universities by building bridges of communication with academic partnerships, collaboration on research projects, and increased joint study programs between our institutions of higher learning.

Although we desire economic profit in our business relationships, we must also partner in our defense of basic human dignity. So, we share the commitment to making our citizens safe in their homes, their workplace, and their places of worship. We share a commitment to self governance and equal rights for all of our law abiding citizens. We should cherish the lessons of our respective histories while building a better future for our citizens. Expanding our commercial relationships will foster these shared interests, leading to increased economic strength that can yield even greater freedom.

I want everyone here to know that Texas deeply appreciates the threats to Israel’s safety and freedom. On a June trip to Israel, I had the honor of listening to Natan Sharansky as he told a group of Israeli, American and European visitors about his eight years in a Siberian gulag. He is clearly a man who understands oppression and truly cherishes freedom. I was struck by the similarities in the challenges facing our respective states, including our shared concerns about border security. However, the threats to Israel’s sovereignty and safety are much more vicious and constant than anything we’ve ever experienced here in Texas. I have long supported an American foreign policy that recognizes the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East. That policy must aggressively advocate for the protection and preservation of democratic states in that part of the world, including Israel.

While peace in the Middle East is our ultimate goal, it cannot happen when major political factions refuse to recognize the Jewish state. We cannot turn a blind eye to the agenda of a terrorist state like Iran and their ongoing investment in acts of terror. As was recently confirmed by the director of national intelligence, Iran is an epicenter for terrorist activity, having provided a safe haven, training and equipment to al-Qaeda. Their leaders are also providing aid and arms to terrorist insurgents fighting American troops in Iraq. It is clear that Iran has every intention of continuing its aggressive behavior toward the United States and its allies, including Israel.

This is why I have repeatedly expressed my support for Texas divestment from companies that do business with Iran. Let me be very clear on this: I personally believe that any company that does business with Iran is actively assisting those who seek to harm American men and women who are serving in the Middle East and funds terror attacks on our allies in the region. Therefore, I am announcing that I have asked our state’s two largest investment funds to divest from all companies who do business with Iran. In a letter I have sent to the directors of the Teacher’s Retirement System and the Employee Retirement System, which together invest over $130 billion dollars, I asked them to formulate a plan for prudent divestment and present it to me within 30 days. I have also conveyed my concerns to my fellow governors, asking them to consider a similar approach in their states. And, I intend to work with the legislature to pass an Iran Divestment act during the next legislative session as Florida and California have recently done. The combined economies of just these three states constitute 26% of our country’s Gross Domestic Product. If these three states were their own country, it would have the 3rd largest economy in the world – larger than Germany and China. That kind of economic power can not be ignored.

I do want to take a moment to commend Texas Senator Dan Patrick who championed this very issue in the past legislative session and was denied in his efforts. I hope you will help carry this legislation to passage in 2009. I know there will be critics of my directive who will contend that Texas’ investment portfolios will not perform as well. I refuse to accept the premise, however, that the only way to make money is by investing in terrorism. Our push for divestment can bring about positive change, much as it did on the issue of apartheid twenty years ago. As you recall, dozens of cities, states, universities, pension funds and portfolio managers pressed American companies to divest from South Africa in the 1980s. The resulting revolution has made South Africa a member of the international community with whom Texas is now proud to have many valuable economic ties.

Approximately 400 internationally traded companies have ties with Iran. I believe these companies have deliberately turned a blind eye to Iran’s dangerous policies in exchange for profits, and Texas will no longer condone such action. Ignoring the threat that Iran poses to American armed forces overseas and our allies will not make it go away. Instead, people of conscience and conviction must stand on principle and advocate for necessary change.

And so, today, as we usher in a new era of relations between Texas and Israel, we speak of a grand vision of a world where terror is defeated by kinship, economic partnerships create new opportunity, and people are free to work and live in peace. I am confident that this new Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce will be a stepping stone on that path. It is an honor and privilege to present this proclamation, marking the next step in the relationship between our two states. 

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 12, 2011 Governor Perry participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He stated there that he would support a sanction of the Iranian banking system.

Scott Pelley: Thank you, Congressman. Governor Perry, what's your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground in Afghanistan today and what would you change?

Rick Perry: Let me answer-- the previous question very quickly for-- if I-- if I may.

Scott Pelley: Governor, I'd like to move on, could you give us a sense of your --of your appraisal of the combat situation?

Rick Perry: --I have a minute. And I can do both in one minute, I'll promise you.

Scott Pelley: There-- there you go.

Rick Perry: And the issue that has not been raised is that this country can sanction the Iranian Central Bank right now and shut down that country's economy. And that's what this president needs to do and the American people need to stand up and force him to make that stand today. Now let me address this issue of Afghanistan and how we deal with it. The mission must be completed there. The idea that we will have wasted our treasure and the lives of young Americans to not secure Afghanistan is not appropriate.

But the idea that we would give a timetable to our enemy is irresponsible from a military standpoint, it's irresponsible from the lives of our young men and women. And it is irresponsible leadership of this president to give a timetable to pull out of any country that we're in conflict with.

Scott Pelley: But Governor, if I can just follow up for 30 seconds. The question was, "What's your appraisal of the combat situation on the ground there, and what would you change as commander in chief?"

Rick Perry: Well, obviously, we're discussing with our commanders on the field-- about what's going on in-- Afghanistan. I think we're makin' progress there. The issue is training up the Afghan security forces so that we're comfortable that they can-- protect that citizenry and continue to take the war to the terrorists that are using Afghanistan and Pakistan, I might add. It is a very complex part of the world. But I think that our military is doin' the best job that they can-- considering-- the lack of support that they're getting from this administration-- telegraphing to the enemy when we're gonna pull out.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Perry participated in a debate on CNN focusing on national security. When asked about Iran, Governor Perry supported sanctioning their national bank.

BLITZER: Let's go to Governor Perry. What do you think?

PERRY: Absolutely. We need to sanction the Iranian Central Bank. That would be one of the most powerful ways to impact that. As a matter of fact, Congressman Paul, that is what we need to do before we ever start having any conversations about a military strike, is to use every sanction that we have. And when you sanction the Iranian Central Bank, that will shut down that economy. At that particular point in time, they truly have to deal with the United States. And it's one of the reasons that I call for the -- there is an area over there, of all of them working together -- and I'm talking about Syria -- and bringing them into the mix as well.

As I called for, one of the options is to have a no-fly zone over Syria at the same time you're putting those types of sanctions against Iran. And in that moment, they will understand that America is serious. This President refuses to do that, and it's another show of lack of leadership from the President of the United States.

 

Jon Huntsman

Summary

Governor Huntsman has stated that he would consider the use of force against Iran if they continue to develop weapons of mass destruction and pursue nucelar weapons.

In a radio interview, Governor Huntsman stated that the development of weapons of mass destruction by Iran would be prompt his use of force if President.

In October of 2011, Governor Huntsman stated that he could not live with a nuclear Iran and would use force as President to intervene if Iran developed such a weapon.

 

WMUR Interview

In an interview with WMUR radio, Governor Huntsman stated that he would consider the use of force against a Iran if they develop weapons of mass destruction.

What do you do when Iran all of a sudden develops a weapon of mass destruction over the near year to year and a half? . . . Now, if ever there was a reason to consider using U.S. force, it would be in pursuit of situations like that.

 

Politico Foreign Affairs Speech

In October of 2011, Governor Huntsman gave a foreign affairs speech discussing numerous issues. In that speech, he stated that a nuclear Iran was not acceptable and that a possible nuclear Iran was one scenario where he would consider the use of force.

I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran. If you want an example of when I would use American force, it would be that.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Huntsman participated in the national security debate on CNN. Governor Huntsman states that sanctions will not work because China and Russia will not play ball. He also notes that Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for peace and was eventually overthrown while other nations have developed those weapons and remained in power.

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, let me bring you into this conversation.

We just got a question from Twitter. I'll read it to you.

"So many people view the Arab spring as a good thing. Given the recent violence in Egypt, do you worry this can go bad?"

And we've got some live pictures we're going to show our viewers out there of Tahrir Square in Cairo right now. Thousands of people are protesting the military regime in Egypt right now.

What do you say to this person who sent this -- this -- this Twitter message to us?

HUNTSMAN: His -- history will tell. We missed the Persian spring. The president failed on that front. We go into Libya, where, to my mind, we don't have any definable American interests. We've got Syria now on the horizon, where we do have American interests. It's called Israel. We're a friend and ally. They're a friend and ally. And we need to remind the world what it means to be a friend and ally of the United States.

And we have nuclearization in Iran. Centrifuges spinning. At some point, they're going to have enough in the way of fissile material out of which to make a weapon. That's a certainty.

We had a discussion earlier tonight about sanctions. Everybody commented on sanctions. Sanctions aren't going to work, I hate to break it to you. They're not going to work because the Chinese aren't going to play ball and the Russians aren't going to play ball.

And I believe Iran has already -- the mullahs have already decided they want to go nuclear.

Why?

They have looked at North Korea. They've got a weapon. Nobody touches them. They like at Libya. Libya gave up their weapon in exchange for friendship with the world. Look where they are.

So I say let's let history be our guide. We saw the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1919. We saw the region transform and make itself into something different. We saw changes in 1947.

I think we do our national interests a disservice by jumping in too soon and taking up sides with people we don't fully understand, Islamist groups, pan-Arab groups.

Our interest in the Middle East is Israel. And our interest is to ensure that Israel -- that Iran does not go nuclear.

No data available for this representative.