Washington: Top Republican presidential
hopefuls have unanimously agreed that Iran should not acquire
atomic weapons, but did not hold common views on whether the
US needs to support Israel in case it attacks Tehran.
Ron Paul said he would not support Israel if it attacks
Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, while
Herman Cain said he would back the Jewish state, but not
before making 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," Cain said during a debate.
"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," he
Paul, in his remarks, said: "No, I wouldn`t do that".
"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," he said.
"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 the sites in Iran. So that`s
not going to happen. And if it did why does Israel need our
help? We need to get out of their way. I mean, we interfere
with them. 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," Paul said.
Then they decide they want to bomb something, that`s
their business, but they should "suffer the consequences," he
Texas Governor Rick Perry, another strong contender for
Republican presidential nomination, said that the US needs 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," he
"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," he argued.
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of
Representatives, said the US needs a strategy of defeating and
replacing the current Iranian regime with minimum use of
"We need a strategy of being honest about radical Islam
and designing a strategy to defeat it wherever it happens to
exist," he said.
Imposing sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank, Gingrich
said, is a good idea if one is serious about stopping them
having nuclear weapons.
"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," he argued.