UPDATED: “Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said he would use air strikes against Iran unless the country dismantled its nuclear program or allowed inspectors to verify that the work isn’t aimed at making a weapon,” reports Bloomberg News. Santorum told NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday that he would make it clear to the leaders of Iran, “You either open up those facilities, you begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors, or we will degrade those facilities through air strikes. Iran will not get a nuclear weapon under my watch.” Santorum was the first candidate to put a serious plan on the table to deal with Iran and will work closely with the State of Israel, rather than undermine Israel. He has made clear that he doesn’t want another war in the Middle East, but that we are running out of options and we can’t blink now. We must stop Iran from getting the Bomb — period. Full interview here. Santorum remains the most principled and resolute GOP presidential candidate in the field on taking decisive measures to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, though Romney has spoken out more on the issue in recent months. Santorum is particularly effective in countering the dangerous approach being taken by Rep. Ron Paul who sees no harm in Iran going nuclear. See here for analysis of all the GOP contenders. I’m not endorsing any candidate, but I believe the Iran threat will be one of the top issues facing the U.S. in 2012 and beyond, and I remain deeply concerned by the support Ron Paul is getting in Iowa — and elsewhere in the country — given Paul’s policy of appeasement and weakness towards Iran. More details here and here.
HEADLINES WORTH TRACKING:
- Los Angeles Times: Ron Paul says, “If I were an Iranian, I’d like to have a nuclear weapon, too.”
- Haaretz: Iran tests long-range missiles as part of major naval exercise — Tests come week after Iran threatened to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an embargo over its nuclear ambitions
- Washington Post: Iran seeking to expand influence in Latin America
- Anthony Cordesman: Iran and the Threat to “Close” the Gulf
- Washington Institute For Near East Policy: Iran’s Strait of Hormuz: A Challenge to U.S. Policy
- Jerusalem Post: Israeli economy expanded estimated 4.8% in 2011