Tuesday, October 11, 2011

US hopeful wants preemptive Iran strike

US Republican presidential contender Jon Huntsman says “American force” should be used to preemptively attack Iran and stop Tehran from developing its nuclear program.

“I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran. If you want an example of when I would use American force, it would be that,” AFP quoted Huntsman as saying on Monday, while outlining his foreign policy in an address at a university in New Hampshire.

The hawkish remarks echoed an earlier statement by Huntsman while being interviewed by New Hampshire's WMUR radio station.

The United States and Israel have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike, based on the allegation that Iran's nuclear work may consist of a covert military aspect.

“What do you do when Iran all of a sudden develops a weapon of mass destruction over the next year to year and a half? ...Now, if ever there was a reason to consider using US force, it would be in pursuit of situations like that,” the US presidential candidate told the radio station.

Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which it is a signatory.

Tehran rejects Western accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, arguing that the International Atomic Energy Agency in its reports has confirmed the non-diversion of nuclear material in Iran.

Iranian officials have warned that any act of aggression by the US and Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities would be firmly responded to and could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.

Huntsman was an ambassador to Singapore under George H.W. Bush and the American envoy to China under Barack Obama. He had also served as the 16th Governor of the US state of Utah. 

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