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    US Republican Presidential Candidates Promise Hard Line on Iran

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, March 6, 2012.
    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, March 6, 2012.

    Republican presidential candidates are lashing out at Iran, promising a pro-Israel group they will not hesitate to use America's military might against Tehran.

    Former Senator Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Tuesday, as Americans in 10 states went to the polls to vote in the Super Tuesday primaries.

    Santorum called for the United States to give Iran a "clear ultimatum" to dismantle its nuclear facilities.  And he said if Iran fails to comply, the U.S. should "tear them down ourselves."

    Santorum told the pro-Israel political affairs group a nuclear Iran is a "threat to freedom loving people around the world" and that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it will serve as a shield, protecting radical regimes and terrorists around the world.

    Romney, speaking by a video link, accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons to "hold hostage the entire planet," and said in a reference to enemies of Israel " that placating jihadists will never result in peace."

    He said the "only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve backed our power and our readiness to use it," promising to place "multiple aircraft carriers and warships at Iran's door."

    Gingrich, also speaking by video link, warned the U.S. cannot keep talking while the Iranians keep developing their nuclear program, saying "the red line is now."  He said that, if elected, he would adopt a strategy to replace the Iranian government by every means short of war.

    Gingrich also promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the divided city, and a U.S. energy policy that would ensure no U.S. president would ever again have "bow to a Saudi king."

    All three also accused President Barack Obama of turning his back on Israel, and chided administration officials for suggesting Iran would not use a nuclear weapon.  

    Santorum said there is nothing in the rhetoric from Iran to suggest the country is being run by "rational actors."  

    Administration officials have denied the accusations that they do not fully support Israel saying cooperation between Israel and the U.S. in a variety of civil and military affairs has never been higher.  

    Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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    by: Griffin
    March 06, 2012 7:19 AM
    @Cameron: How is the President "competing for "who can be toughest on Iran"??? Are you even paying attention to what he has been saying? The President has NOT given Iran an ultimatum as Israel and the GOP canididates are calling for him to do. He wants to give the sanctions a chance to work which is EXACTLY what he should do.

    by: Peter
    March 06, 2012 7:11 AM
    More wars, great ...... For the next election just vote independent. Time to get new parties in power beside the two old and incurable ones.

    by: Bryon Letterman
    March 06, 2012 7:10 AM
    As an Iraq veteran, I support tough action on Iran, but only if Israel takes the lead. Its a much bigger threat to them, so they should take the lead. Ron Paul has a lot of good points about our financial situation and about our foreign policy, but he's a fool for not recognizing the clear threat that Iran poses.

    by: DenJansen
    March 06, 2012 7:02 AM
    Well, if you hadn't lost my vote before, now you're making promises nobody wants you to keep. Morons.

    by: kvr
    March 06, 2012 7:02 AM
    Any American politician who places the interest of Israel over the interests of the USA or over fairness, justice and equality for all in the Middle East is unworthy of being elected.

    by: Jason
    March 06, 2012 7:00 AM
    The GOP continues to get more and more insane, truly representing the most bigoted, narrow-minded, fundamentalist, and now short-sightedly violent of Americans. Keep up the good work!

    by: kevin
    March 06, 2012 6:59 AM
    Get ready for another unfunded trillion dollar war

    by: Jeff Stewart
    March 06, 2012 6:57 AM
    Odd. I could have sworn there were FOUR candidates still in the Republican race... of course that 4th guy isn't a swaggering warmonger, so I guess his exclusion from this "story" makes sense, of a sort...

    by: Anthony
    March 06, 2012 6:56 AM
    Last I checked, Ron Paul was still a candidate. And last I checked, he was a non interventionist...

    by: Cameron
    March 06, 2012 6:47 AM
    Indeed, the President and his prospective opponents (with a sole exception) are all competing for "who can be toughest on Iran" nevermind the expense in lives and wealth. Political pandering at the expense of human dignity. Pathetic.
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