Chuck Baldwin, former US House Representative (R-GA), issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 11, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"The United States should not be involved in another governments' affairs, but primarily in its own defense.
We must disengage this nation from the international entanglements which generate foreign hatred of these United States, and are used as the excuse for terrorist attacks on America and its people.
Any military force would have to be ordered and authorized by Congress.
We demand that never again shall United States troops be employed on any foreign field of battle without a declaration of war by Congress, as required by the United States Constitution." Aug. 11, 2008 Chuck Baldwin
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), in an Oct. 10, 2007 article titled "We Rush to War in Iran at Our Own Peril" on his official candidate website:
"Should Washington simply sit back and leave Iran alone â€” free to support terrorist groups and regimes in other countries, including Iraq, and to develop a nuclear capability? Of course not. Even considering that our lengthy and continuing occupation of Iraq has greatly strengthened Ahmadinejad, the United States has a clear and legitimate stake in what happens in Iran and with regard to matters in which that regime is involved elsewhere.
What is important, however, should be to quell the simplistic blustering by the White House and by many presidential candidates designed to prove each will be tougher on Iran than the others. Also helpful would be putting a lid on unnecessary and repetitive insults and threats directed at the Ahmadinejad administration - a pastime that simply strengthens the regime in Tehran and does nothing to build support for legitimate efforts to weaken the regime.
Positive steps could include strengthening economic and political pressure on Iran, and increased efforts to quietly but actively build on the deep base of political understanding that already exists among a large segment of the Iranian population (and including the more than one million Iranian-Americans)...
It would be a shame if, in a rush to prove something politically at home or abroad, the U.S. were to initiate a military confrontation that would not only destroy that base of support, but lead to a conflict vastly more costly and lengthy than the invasion of Iraq has turned out to be." Oct. 10, 2007 Bob Barr
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated in a July 18, 2007 speech titled "John McCain Addresses the Christians United for Israel" on his official campaign website:
"And every option must remain on the table. Military action isn't our preference. It remains, as it always must, the last option. We have some way to go diplomatically before we need to contemplate other measures. But it is a simple observation of reality that there is only one thing worse than a military solution, and that, my friends, is a nuclear armed Iran. The regime must understand that it cannot win a showdown with the world." July 18, 2007 John McCain
[Editor's Note: John McCain submitted a press release on June 2, 2008 titled "John McCain on Security in the Middle East" on his official candidate website regarding his views on Iran's nuclear intentions:
"Iran's Continued Pursuit Of Nuclear Weapons Poses An Unacceptable Danger That We Cannot Allow.
Emboldened by nuclear weapons, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks. Its flouting of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty would render that agreement obsolete and could induce others to join a nuclear arms race. There would be the possibility that Tehran might pass nuclear materials or weapons to terrorist networks. An Iranian nuclear bomb would pose an existential threat to Israel.
Rather Than Sitting Down Unconditionally With The Iranian President Or Supreme Leader, John McCain Will Work To Create Real-World Pressures To Peacefully But Decisively Change Iran's Behavior..."]
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, and political activist, stated in a June 18, 2008 "Democracy Now!" interview titled "Ralph Nader on Barack Obama: 'It is Quite Clear He is a Corporate Candidate from A to Z'":
"The point is that we are exaggerating that threat instead of using diplomacy, number one. Number two, Iran does not have nuclear weapons; they're nowhere near nuclear weapons, according to intelligence estimates. Number three, Israel has 250 nuclear weapons. Does Iran really want to commit suicide? And number four, two major national security experts in Israel have been reported as saying Iran is not a problem." Apr. 7, 2007 Ralph Nader
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), issued a statement in an article titled "Foreign Policy" on his official candidate website (accessed July 29, 2008):
"The Problem: Iran has sought nuclear weapons, supports militias inside Iraq and terror across the region, and its leaders threaten Israel and deny the Holocaust. But Obama believes that we have not exhausted our non-military options in confronting this threat; in many ways, we have yet to try them. That's why Obama stood up to the Bush administration's warnings of war, just like he stood up to the war in Iraq.
Opposed Bush-Cheney Saber Rattling: Obama opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which says we should use our military presence in Iraq to counter the threat from Iran. Obama believes that it was reckless for Congress to give George Bush any justification to extend the Iraq War or to attack Iran. Obama also introduced a resolution in the Senate declaring that no act of Congress – including Kyl-Lieberman – gives the Bush administration authorization to attack Iran.
Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress." July 29, 2008 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: Prior to Barack Obama's July 29, 2008 Con position, his position was Not Clearly Pro or Con as indicated in his Nov. 1, 2007 statement in a New York Times article titled "Interview With Barack Obama" below.]
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), in a Nov. 1, 2007 New York Times article titled "Interview With Barack Obama," stated:
"Q. If you were to open such a discussion with Iran, would you retain a military option for striking Iran's nuclear facilities if they persisted on that course, or do you believe that it would be wiser to craft a deterrent and detainment strategy for Iran and acquiesce their nuclear capability?
A. I don't think the President of the United States takes military options off the table, but I think that we obviously have to measure costs and benefits in all the decisions that we make. Iran is one problem. Pakistan is another problem. Afghanistan is another. Iraq is yet another. My decision making, with respect to military options versus diplomatic options, a containment strategy versus a strike strategy, is going to be informed by how is that going to impact not just Iran, but how is that going to impact the stability of the region and how's that going to impact our long-term security interests." Nov. 1, 2007 Barack Obama
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear
below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Joe Biden, US Senator (D-DE), stated on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on June 17, 2007:
"Stephanopoulos: ...In all of these conflicts we see the hand of Iran at work, they're arming Hamas, they're arming hezbollah...they're accelerating their nuclear program, they're also arming insurgents in Iraq. Isn't it a fair conclusion to say that Iran is now waging war against the United States and our allies?
Biden: What we don't want to do about it is we don't want to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. So, if and when any diplomatic or military action need be taken down the road, we're by ourselves. And that's why staying with the Europeans, that's why not using military force at this time, that's why continuing to tighten the diplomatic noose and sanctions around Iran is the way to go." June 17, 2007 Joe Biden
Hillary Clinton, US Senator (D-NY), stated in a July 2007 The Philadelphia Village Voice article titled "Remarks by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton":
"We cannot, we should not, and we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. That has to be our starting point. And in dealing with this threat, no option can be taken off the table. I think it's important that we look at all the options that are available to us, some of which have been considerably narrowed because of this administration's policies...
And finally, if we do have to take offensive military action against Iran, it would be far better if the rest of the world saw it as a position of last resort, not first resort, because the effects and consequences will be globally felt." July 2007 Hillary Clinton
Chris Dodd, US Senator (D-CT), stated on Meet the Press with Tim Russert on Oct. 28, 2007:
"Mr. Russert: The president just announced that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a foreign terrorist organization and imposed sanctions on Iran. Do you support the sanctions?
Sen. Dodd: Absolutely. I think it's the right way to go. In fact, we'll be dealing with that legislation in the committee I serve on. That's the-that's the appropriate way to go. What is not the right way to go, in my view, is the resolution adopted several weeks ago in the Senate, the large vote here, which almost exclusively focused on the military option in Iran. Iran poses some serious issues. Certainly the accumulation or the possibility of accumulating nuclear weapons, obviously supporting terrorism in the region are serious questions that the United States has to address. The best way to approach that at this juncture is through the sanctions, the diplomatic approach, in my view, building the relationships that we need to build in order to effectively convince the Iranians that their direction they're going in is one they have to stop." Oct. 28, 2007 Chris Dodd
John Edwards, former US Senator (D-NC), stated in a Feb. 2, 2007 The American Prospect article titled "Edwards On Iran" by Ezra Klein:
"First, America should be negotiating directly with Iran, which Bush won't do. Second, we need to get our European friends, not just the banking system, but the governments themselves, to help us do two things -- put a group, a system of carrots and sticks on the table. The carrots are, we'll make nuclear fuel available to you, we'll control the cycle, but you can use it for any civilian purpose. Second, an economic package, which I don't think has been seriously proposed up until now. Because their economy is already struggling, and it would be very attractive to them. And then on the flip side, the stick side, to say if you don't do that, there are going to be more serious economic sanctions than you've seen up until now. Now of course we need the Europeans for this, cause they're the ones with the economic relationship with Iran, but the whole purpose of this is number one to get an agreement. Number two, to isolate this radical leader so that the moderates and those within the country who want to see Iran succeed economically, can take advantage of it.
Now that's on the one hand, the flip side of this is what happens if America were to militarily strike Iran? Well you take this unstable, radical leader, and you make him a hero -- that's the first thing that'll happen. The Iranian people will rally around him. The second thing that will happen is they will retaliate. And they have certainly some potential for retaliating here in the United States through some of these terrorist organizations they're close to, but we've got over a hundred thousand people right next door. And most people believe that they have an infrastructure for retaliation inside Iraq. So, that's the second thing that'll happen. And the third thing is there are a lot of analysts who believe that an air strike or a missile strike is not enough to be successful." Feb. 2, 2007 John Edwards
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, stated in a Dec. 9, 2007 interview on Meet the Press with Tim Russert:
"MR. [Tim] RUSSERT: Doesn't this [2007 National Intelligence Estimate] remove the option of a pre-emptive military strike against Iran?
MR. [Rudy] GIULIANI: No, I, I don't think it does. I think, I think you always leave open the military option in a situation... So our, our-the option of this government should be that we don't take any options off the table, and we keep the pressure on them... And of course we don't, we don't want to use the military option. It would be dangerous; it would be risky. But I think it would be more dangerous and more risky if Iran did become a nuclear power. We should utilize sanctions. We should utilize as much pressure as we're capable of. But the fact that that is there, that military option is there, not taken off the table ultimately increases the pressure, doesn't it? The reality is the pressure works...
2003, all the pressure was there and the military option was on the table, and they stopped. Why would we now take it off the table?... I believe what I just said and have said consistently, that military options should not be taken off the table. It could be a big mistake to do that, but that that should be an option that would be even thought about only as a last resort... But I don't think the military option is the thing that we want. I mean, that isn't the thing that we, we, we want to get to if we don't have to. Again, we would only get to it if it was a last resort and under this kind of an analysis." Dec. 9, 2007 Rudy Giuliani
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, stated in a Sep. 28, 2007 speech titled "Paths and Priorities in the War on Terror" given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC:
"The Administration has quite properly said that it will not take the military option for Iran off the table. Neither would I. But if we don't put other options on the table, eventually the military option becomes the only viable one. Right now we are proceeding down only one track with Iran - armed confrontation. Nothing would make Osama bin Laden happier - he would welcome war between the United States and Iran, his two biggest enemies. I try to avoid doing anything that brightens bin Laden's day...
To contain Iran, it is essential to win in Iraq. When we overthrew Saddam Hussein, who functioned as a bulwark against Iran, we upset the balance of power in the region. We must stabilize and strengthen Iraq not just for their security, but the security of the entire region, and our own security. We can't allow Iran to push the power of its theocracy westward into, and then beyond, Iraq.
Another way to contain Iran is through diplomacy, while never taking the military option off the table. We must be as diplomatically aggressive as we have been militarily aggressive since 9/11...
To show how seriously we take the Iranian threat here at home, we must encourage the burgeoning movement of our states and private entities like the Teamsters to divest their pension funds of Iran-related assets. We should put more of our money where our mouth is." Sep. 28, 2007 Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter, US Representative (R-CA), in an Oct. 12, 2007 Washington Post online article titled "Online Q&A with Duncan Hunter," stated:
"My position is that Iran cannot be allowed to build a nuclear device. We've all been hopeful that sanctions would compel Iran to abandon its weapons development. However, to date, it would be fair to say that Iran is not strongly inconvenienced by existing sanctions. Indeed, China and Russia -- both with an appetite for Iranian oil and money -- probably will blunt any effective sanctions recommended to international bodies by the United States. This leaves us with the prospect that preemptive action may be necessary. As president my commitment would be to deny Iran nuclear weapons capability. Preemptive military action has been used in the past to disrupt weapons programs. If necessary, I would use it." Oct. 12, 2007 Duncan Hunter
Daniel Imperato, an Independent candidate and business entrepreneur, stated in a Jan 30, 2006 press release titled "Imperato on Ahamadinejad and Nukes Defense":
"Picking on Iran is an improper, aggressive situation that must stop by the US, its administration, and the administrations around the world...
The rest of the world has countries already who produce nuclear power who could as easily as Iran, erupt and use nuclear weapons. Although those countries are seen in the world to be stable countries, and have been accepted by the rest of the world to have credibility and restraint, it only takes one person to push a button...
I call on our administration and our president to try to embrace the leader of Iran and to talk to him face-to-face, man-to-man, to discuss the issues at hand and to bring about peace in front of the people of the world." Jan. 30, 2006 Daniel Imperato
Alan Keyes, former Assistant US Secretary of State, stated during a Feb. 28, 2006 appearance on the Tovia Singer Show:
"Well, I think it's going to be very important to lay down, as they have, a clear line against the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the Iranians. I think it's also going to require a willingness to see it in the geo-strategic context. After all, I think it's naive to believe that, for instance, the problems that are now occurring in Iraq are not problems that involve and have been fomented, to a certain extent, by Iranian involvement and participation.
So, I think we have to see that possible acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran in the context of the strategic role it plays as a part of that infrastructure of terror--and in that context, I think it needs to be made clear to the American people that a nuclear Iran is one of those realities that will pose a grave and immediate threat to the lives and survival of Americans. And that's why I think it has to be given a great emphasis, and we should be willing to take some risk in order to establish a clear, hard line against it." Feb. 28, 2006 Alan Keyes
Steve Kubby, a Libertarian candidate and founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, stated in a Nov. 9, 2007 email to ProCon.org:
"No. First of all, while the International Atomic Energy Agency has found some problems with Iran's nuclear program, it has yet to find any evidence to support the Bush administration's charges that Iran is in any way operating outside the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NNPT] to which both are signatory.
Secondly, it is not Washington's place to dictate the conduct of Iran's internal affairs. Even if the Iranians develop a nuclear weapon -- which they are apparently some years from doing if that is their goal -- they've demonstrated neither the ability nor the desire to use such weapons against the United States. Until and unless they credibly threaten to do so, the US has no more business dictating nuclear arms policy to Iran than Iran would have dictating nuclear arms policy to the US -- which has a questionable record on NNPT compliance itself, and which thus far remains the only nation to attack another with an atomic or nuclear weapon.
Thirdly, the path to a peaceful future dictates that the US seek friendly relations with Iran rather than continue to rattle sabres. Thirty years of sanctions against Iran have achieved nothing positive and indeed have helped entrench the radical Islamist regime in Tehran and undermined a strong popular sentiment for liberalization. The thing the mullahs fear most is a friendly United States. It is a hostile United States which substantially keeps them in power." Nov. 9, 2007 Steve Kubby
Dennis Kucinich, US Representative (D-OH), stated in a Jan. 17, 2005 article titled "Attack on Iran Will Further Destabilize Region; Make US Less Secure" on his official candidate website:
"The war in Iraq has been a disaster, but a war against Iran would be worse. Another preemptive unilateral war by the United States would further destabilize the region and make our country less safe.
This Administration's failure to allow weapons inspectors to complete their work in Iraq led our nation into a unnecessary war, and has caused the death of over 1,300 US soldiers. We must not make the same mistake again.
This Administration must allow the international community to continue weapons inspections in Iran and have the international community disarm any and all illegal weapons that may be in the country. Any covert or overt action in Iran without the approval of the international community would be illegal and further isolate the United States." Jan. 17, 2005 Dennis Kucinich
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Nov. 13, 2007 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"No, until we have proof that the Iranians are loading nuclear weapons on planes, boats or missiles we should not use military force against Iran to make them dismantle their nuclear program. As much as certain people may not like it, Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy programs for their country. It may even be the right thing for them to do given everyone's concern about greenhouse gasses and global warming. Just because they have lots of oil, doesn't mean they have to burn it to create electricity. Maybe the smart thing for all of us to do is develop as much nuclear power as possible to lessen the world's dependence on oil." Nov. 13, 2007 Frank McEnulty
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated in the Sep. 5, 2007 Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Durham, NH:
"We have no need for our national security to have troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and going into Iraq and Afghanistan and threatening Iran is the worst thing we can do for our national security...
I would say that we should go very cautiously. We should back off. We should be talking to Iran right now. We shouldn't be looking for the opportunity to attack them. They are at the present time, according to the AEIA (sic/IAEA), cooperating, and by the end of the year they're supposed to be willing to reveal all that they are doing.
So instead of looking for this scenario where it is inevitable that we have to attack, I think we ought to be talking about how do you get along with some people that are deadly like the Soviets and the Chinese and the many others. We don't have to resort to war every single time there's a confrontation." Sep. 5, 2007 Ron Paul
Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, stated in a Feb. 24, 2007 Washington Post article titled "Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran":
"Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war -- a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of US credibility in the community of nations.
A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks." Feb. 24, 2007 Bill Richardson
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated in a Jan. 23, 2007 article titled "Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks at the Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference" on his official campaign website:
"First, we should continue to tighten the economic sanctions... Second, we need to impose diplomatic isolation of Iran's Government... Third, Arab states must join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran... Fourth, we have to make it clear that while nuclearization may be a source of pride to the Iranian people, it also should be considered as a source of peril. The military option remains on the table. And further, any people should know that if nuclear material their own nation develops falls into the hands of terrorists and would be used that would surely provoke a devastating response from the civilized world to any who provided that fissile material... Fifth, our strategy should be integrated into a broad approach to the broader Muslim world." Jan. 23, 2007 Mitt Romney
Tom Tancredo, US Representative (R-CA), in the May 3, 2007 Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Simi Valley, CA, stated:
"I say that, look, when we -- if you look at this issue and stand back for just a second and say there are two kinds of Irans that we are going to have to deal with here, one headed by a gentleman who believes that he is going to be responsible for the coming of the 12th imam, and the guy with a bomb, that should put us in the position of saying that anything we can do to stop that is imperative.
And if Israel is put in that position, and if we need to be involved in order to protect both ourselves and the Israelis, then of course we respond in the appropriate fashion...
But I'm telling you that if they are -- if there is a threat to the existence of Israel -- which is, by the way, I think, a potential threat to the existence of the United States -- then you have to come to that -- the aid of Israel." May 3, 2007 Tom Tancredo
Fred Thompson, former US Senator (R-TN), stated in a Sep. 20, 2007 press release titled "Thompson: No Ahmadinejad Entry Into US Proposes Economic Sanctions to Freeze Iran's Assets" on his official candidate website:
"It's time for the world to finally send a stern message to Iran. Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel, is supporting terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, and is responsible for supplying weapons to extremists who are killing US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. And with Iran's ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons and development of long-range missiles, that country is a threat not only to the region and our allies, but to the entire free world. It's time for the United Nations to take more serious action against this terror regime.
The Security Council needs to begin placing comprehensive, multilateral sanctions on Iran's economy, to include banning foreign investment, stopping export credits to companies doing business there, and prohibiting any business dealings with Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Iranian banks should be denied access to international banking and financial institutions, and World Bank loans should be suspended. All arms sales to Iran need to be halted. And travel by Iranian officials should be stopped and their assets frozen. Cutting off Iranian access to refined gas imports will certainly get Tehran's attention and cause them to reconsider their priorities. If the UN can't reach agreement on these measures due to continued Russian, Chinese or others' intransigence, then we need to work directly with our allies and go around the UN roadblock.
The international community has been negotiating with Iran for more than four years to no avail in seeking to halt the mullahs' nuclear program. I believe strongly in diplomacy, but it has its limits, especially when the other side is made up of extremists. If we don't get serious and act now--before they build atomic weapons--the stakes will be even higher, and our hand much weaker. The United States and its allies cannot afford to let that happen. As president, I certainly will not." Sep. 20, 2007 Fred Thompson