September 27th, 2007
08:45 AM ET
11 years ago

Giuliani: Ahmadinejad lives in 'fantasy world'

Giuliani said "the military option is definitely on the table" with Iran.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, speaking on a Web cast Wednesday night beamed into homes around the country as part of a national fundraising effort, accused Columbia University of empowering Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said "the military option is definitely on the table" with Iran.

Giuliani also drew repeated parallels between the Iranian government and Islamic terrorism and made clear he supports regime change in Iran.

"I believe that what the president of Columbia did was a terrible mistake because it feeds Ahmadinejad's irrationality," Giuliani said of the Monday speech. "It feeds his fantasy world. Islamic terrorists live in a fantasy world."

Giuliani said Iran should be "ostracized, not embraced" by the American government. At the same time, he said it should be firm U.S. policy that Iran should not have nuclear weapons.

"It should be a clear, unequivocal, stated purpose of American policy that Iran is not going to become nuclear because they are too dangerous, they're too irresponsible, they're too unpredictable, and they live in a fantasy world, which was increased by Ahmadinejad being applauded at Columbia University."

The Republican presidential hopeful suggested that approximately half of the Columbia crowd applauded Ahmadinejad's appearance on Monday.

"He goes back with a certain amount of reinforcement that those ideas have currency in the United States, and that is very damaging to the whole effort of being able to have regime change in Iran, to have the people of Iran get a sense of how unacceptable he really is," Giuliani said. "So I think we have to make it clear that we're not going to allow them to be a nuclear power. That means the military option is definitely on the table. We cannot appear hesitant about that."

Giuliani was responding to a question from comedian Dennis Miller, who called into the Web cast, which was part of Giuliani's National House Party Night.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Iran • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Ted of Maspeth NY

    Guiliani = Major Hypocrit
    Would you comment if Guiliani Partners have a contract with the country of Iran like your consulting contract with the government of Venezuela. At least Ahmedinejad has the guts to face fierce critics and in their turf.

    September 27, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. A. Rentfro, Brownsville, Texas. U.S.A.

    Rudy Giuliani is two-dimensional like a coin, heads or tails. Sometimes he's face up. Increasingly, he's not.
    If standing in the cloud of smoke and fear and uncertainty of the 911 catastrophe makes him a hero then he's in line with a million other New Yorkers and others in our nation. What sets him apart is he was in a position of authority and direct responsibility the days before that crime.
    I would never support Giuliani for public office. The officials who through inaction or mis-action allowed that attack to unfold on America need to be purged.. and then possibly prosecuted, not moved up the food chain!
    Wake up Rudy, listening to someone is not the same as endorsing them. Ahmadinejad is a looney and needs close watch. As for you, most are not watching.
    Thank you for allowing my opinion.

    September 27, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. anon, new york, NY

    Giuliani also lives in a fantasy world regarding his chance to win the election.

    He often follows what Bush says in foregin policy towards Iraq & Iran. He has no original ideas, because he does not have any experience in international politics.

    September 27, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Andrew, San Diego, California

    Utter garbage, I honestly can't believe this man even said that a military option is on the table.
    If thats the case then lets send him first...ENOUGH of the republican war profiteering fear campaign...I hope America is smarter than this idiot!

    September 27, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Jim Nelson, Chicago, IL

    Guliani wants to join the bandwagon attacking Iranian president to show the world that he is tough. The interviwer Denis Miller is a joke who doesn't understand any international affairs and by asking opinions to another joker is a big farse.

    September 27, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    Let's see... He was the Mayor of the biggest Fantasy World in the US.. NYC. Must still be there saying this lunacy.

    The guy is a few fries short of a Happy Meal!

    Telling it like I see it,

    September 27, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Matt, PA

    Well Rudy would know about dreamworlds, he lives in one. I too hope he's their nom. it would throw out the whole Hillary 's a polarizer thing

    September 27, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Jolo 19

    If Hilter's ghost is still around, you can count them now in two George Bush, and Rudy Giuliani, as one super duper Hitler.

    September 27, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Bob, Seattle, WA

    You are 'right on' Mr. Giuliani. Now, please approach Mr. Huckabee to be your running mate. This will shore up your position with conservatives and will insure 16 more years with the Republican influence this country desperately needs.

    September 27, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. James, Phoenix AZ

    "Why can we not allow Iran to become a nuclear power?"

    – – – –

    Pixie, I assume you would have supported Hitler having nuclear bombs too?

    Iran denies the holocaust (perhaps because if Iran had nuclear weapons – the death and destruction waged against Israel would be the REAL holocaust).

    Iran actively supports Islamic extremists and terrorists. How smart is it, Pixie, to have governments sympathetic to American-Hating terrorists access to enriched plutonium?

    Instead – you would rather we sit back, watch our enemies build an arsenal of nuclear weapons to be used against us, our allies, or in a neighboring conflict which could easily spiral into all-out nuclear war. Yeah – that's the responsible approach!

    September 27, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Ronnie.Irving,Texas

    Rudy Giuliani lives in the same fantasy world if he thinks he will be our next president.

    September 27, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Mike Drabniack


    Your paranoia of “enemies building an arsenal of nuclear weapons…“ is delusional at best. Somehow I can’t see Iran building a nuclear stockpile of weapons in the next few years, then developing ICBM’s to house them… THEN firing them at the US. If Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan were such threats to the region/world why is it that the US had to travel half way across the world to “stop” them? Meanwhile all the other nations whom these countries could actually reach sat back and watched (with the exception of England)… Rudy would be the worst choice for president… what has he EVER done? Much like Bush before election, absolutely nothing… except get divorced and in the case of Bush getting arrested 3 times, being a coke head and an alcoholic… The US is fueling anti-American sentiment all over the world via our “war on terror” aka the war for more oil… post 9/11 the world was with us… 6 years later we’re in a very different spot… Rudy will take us deeper into the hole…

    September 27, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. dwillsworth

    Well well well..What else is new?

    Did you all hear, as well, that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (180,000+ soldiers) is now listed as a terrorist organization? Let me remind all of you, that the IRG is a member of Iran. They are not a hostile, free roaming terrorist organization such as Al-Qaida. The IRG is comparible, to say, the US Special Forces.

    I particularly like this quote from Mr. Webb in Congress:

    " By the way, it is kind of interesting to note that last week the Iraqi Government claimed that Blackwater is a terrorist organization for the way it operates inside Iraq. I am not making that allegation. I am giving an example of how people categorize these groups."

    Anyhow. It's unfortunate that the American public is being duped by a blitzed Media campaign. This Columbia University thing, the media circus involving Ahmadinejad at a ordinary UN meeting. General Petraeus's media release. All of this is a warm up to getting the public to accept that War with Iran is a possibility.

    Anyhow, it will run down like this folks: Saudi Arabia is begging the US to attack Iran. Iran is growing in Middle East support and Saudi Arabia is afraid of Iran. The Saudi's are going to get pummeled if Iran were to attack. So, the US will get Israel to launch missle strikes on Iranian soil causing Iran to retaliate. This is where the US will come in.

    All of that being said. Hear this: By Israel or the US going in to Iran, all hell will break loose in Iraq. All hell will break loose in Iran. All hell will break loose in the Middle East. Iran will gain support from the people in the Middle East and this will all end very, very, very badly. It's unfortunate that there are so many American troops in Iraq, that they will all be caught in the crossfire. Let me remind you all, Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Iran is a VERY capable country with a VERY capable military that can EASILY get 1,000,000 troops ready to roll in a very short time period.

    Unfortunately, this is all ready to go. Expect this to all go down within the rest of September or some time in October.

    I hope the American public does something. Good luck.

    September 27, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. James, Phoenix AZ

    Mike Drabniack,

    You wrote, "Your paranoia of “enemies building an arsenal of nuclear weapons…“ is delusional at best. Somehow I can’t see Iran building a nuclear stockpile of weapons in the next few years, then developing ICBM’s to house them… THEN firing them at the US. If Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan were such threats to the region/world why is it that the US had to travel half way across the world to “stop” them?"

    Mike, I'm delusional??

    On October 26, 2005 Ahmadinejad gave a speech at a conference in Tehran entitled "World Without Zionism". According to widely published translations, he agreed with a statement he attributed to Ayatollah Khomeini that the "occupying regime" had to be removed, and referred to it as a "disgraceful stain on the Islamic world" that must be "wiped off the map."

    In December 2005 Ahmadinejad made several controversial statements about the Holocaust, calling it "a myth", and criticizing European laws against Holocaust denial.

    Tell us Mike – How many nuclear devices should Iran be permitted to develope before we should begin to worry?

    Tell us Mike – considering Israel has been directly threatened... you're ok if Israel makes strikes in Iran, right?

    And since it's "over there" we shouldn't worry or get involved. It's not like they (terrorists) could ever hit us, right?

    September 27, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Bud McCormick, Tempe, AZ

    If Rudy becomes a president, James from Arizona will be first one to be recruited for Iran/Iraq or Afghanistan. He will be a good foot soldier.

    September 27, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Marie, Los Angeles, CA

    Shut up Rudy. A lawyer turned mayor does not a foreign policy expert make.

    September 27, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. RB, from the bay state

    Ru911dy Giu911iani is really getting in over his head.

    If anyone is living in a fantasy world, it's Ru911dy.

    September 27, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. KD, Dallas, TX

    I worry for our country's future. We have been manipulated into believing we needed to go to war with Iraq...because our esteemed leaders told us they were responsible for 911, when the word got out that was a lie, they said it was because of weapons of mass destruction, when that was found out to be a lie we were then told it was for regime change and bringing democracy to the world. Now put your feet into the shoes of the Iraqi people who now live with more threat to their well being and who are now displaced living in other countries or cities, many places don't have running water, their educated population has left the country. We being the almighty country that dictates the world caused more hatred in the middle east by our illegal occupation and war in Iraq.

    We have meddled in the affairs of the middle east many times so that we could be more in control of their natural resources. We help fund Israel who has nuclear weapons that could easily destroy others in the middle east and yet we will not allow the Moslem countries to have nuclear capabilities. Don't get me wrong, I fear for all of us with the weapons that countries have, including ours.

    I know some of you will say that we need to fight back because they caused 911. Do you really know what you are talking about? Who is they? They is not the entire Moslem religion. They is Al Qaeda who does not represent all of Iraq or Iran. By categorizing their military as terrorists, Bush will be able to manipulate many to believe we need to go to war with them now. So many uninformed people will jump on the bandwagon. I can easily tell that the plans are to go to war, as the rhetoric is the same as it was when Bush was preparing us for war in Iraq. Do you realize that even Pope John Paul II thought Bush was the antichrist? Bush professes his religious beliefs, but bullies the world. Rudi would be no better with his inability to think.

    If we were really fighting terrorism, the targets should have been Afghanistan (which was made to look like it was our first priority and quickly ignored) and Saudi Arabia who funded the 911 terrorists and was home to nearly all of them. Do you ever hear of Saudi Arabia being a target? No, Bush has ties to the ruling royalty there. Do you realize that he got all of the Bin Ladin's out of our country right after 911 while no one else was allowed to fly. If we don't wake up to what is going on, our country will pay a HUGE price. The neocon ideology of PNAC-Project for a New American Century is turning us into the facist government of the Third Reich. Now we have labeled Iran as a problem and the dingbats in Washington are going along with it again. What we need is an overhaul of the entire Washington bunch. I have little respect for those voting to target Iran now. Didn't they learn anything from the mess in Iraq? Where the heck are their brains. Iran will beat us to a pulp. They have not provoked us, nor have they threatened us. They have an army that is very strong, ours has been stretched to the limit. We have nuclear weapons and I am sure many fear us as a result. Why do we dictate what others are allowed to have?

    I was raised in a very religious home and I my beliefs do not follow the bomb them mentality. I have such a hard time figuring out how those who believe Bush is their religious leader can go along with his thoughts and actions. Do we try to live peacefully together in the world, or bomb anyone we are told COULD be a threat to our country? We are being told that their weapons are showing up in Iraq. Do you remember the Iran Contra affair? Where did they get many of their weapons? We need to be more informed about what goes on in the world and not just follow blindly along with what the government tells us.

    Has anyone thought about the ramifications of going to war with Iran? They would have no choice but to bring back the draft. I don't particularly care for the idea of sacrificing my son for someone else's need for machoism.

    September 27, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. Heather, Scotch Plains NJ

    This is very scary. Here we are bogged down in Afghanistan, in the middle of a civil war in Iraq and now we're talking about regime change in Iran. How many troops does this man think we have available for yet another war? How much more money will we hemorrhage? How about your plan for the wars we're already fighting. Do I want Iran to have nuclear weapons? Of coarse not. That doesn't mean we should topple yet another government. We need more options than just war. It will only destabilize the region further. Is that all America knows how to do? We are becoming an empire. How many countries will we keep invading? History has taught us that all empires eventually fall when they over reach. We can not continue to force our ways on other countries without suffering the consequences.

    September 27, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Pat Balke Scotch Plains, NJ

    Have we learned nothing? Mr Giuliani has once again proven he has no real understanding of foreign policy nor the background to act sanely and responsibly against very real world problems. A sensible person would look at our current situation in Iraq and come to the conclusion a preemptive attack on Iran is not the first and only response we should be considering. The United States needs diplomacy and the strong support of a real world coalition to address the issue. Every time we go into our strong armed rhetoric we are only stoking the fires. We do not have the military manpower nor the finances to wage another war simultaneous to our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. WE DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES! Iran has a formidable military. If we have found ourselves in a quagmire in Iraq which was a "soft" target, won't we be in great shape to not only take on Iran but their Muslim allies? Is Mr Giuliani planning on becoming another go it alone cowboy? I realize we sometimes have to wage war to protect ourselves but the former mayor appears to be foaming at the mouth at the thought of another war. I admit openly he scares the hell out of me. Perhaps this time around we had better be a little bit careful about who we install in the White House.
    P.S. A little bit of free information for Rudy-Although I too think Mr Ahmadinejad is a raving maniac, he is the leader of Iran and as such I applaud Columbia University for inviting him to speak. We claim to be a country of freedoms including the freedom to speak but if we don't like the individual or disagree with him we are all for forgetting about this sometimes uncomfortable right. I would rather hear the enemy speak because his words will prove his undoing. Your way just gives him more of a voice. If you want to be president perhaps a refresher course in basic American Rights would prove helpful!

    September 27, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. Chris, FL

    The bible warns against the US. It says in the end we will say peace and security, peace and security, yet there will be none.

    How many of you really know the heart and mind of Iran? Just because you all have been brainwashed to be anti muslim doesn't mean they are evil. What country has been the one doing all the war and evil in the world? Ahhhh, the US. Even IF muslims committed 911, does that mean we destroy over 1 million of them. We have gotten more of our sons and daughters killed than what took place in 911.

    CNN removed my last comment about leaving the option of knocking G out still on the table. But seriously, you people have to think hard about who is really doing the killing in the world. Don't be too proud to be an American.

    September 27, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    KD, Dallas, TX

    Thank you for your intelligent comments. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I truly hope that the world realizes that the statements below made by Giuliani is a diplomatic way of saying it's time to go to war again. And the only reason he and Republicans have is fear based on speculation void of all logical reasoning.

    Given that was the same reason for attacking Iraq gives one a very anxious feeling. We all know the devastation that occured there.

    I wonder if Mid East countries feel that the US having nuclear power is a reason not to take military action off their table? To hear Americans like Rudy, Hillary, Bush, et al making such flippant remarks on such serious issues as another major war makes me wonder who the real terrorists are.

    It is certainly more than arrogant for US leaders and candidates to state the re-enforcment gained by the Iran President while visiting American will be very damaging to the whole effort of being able to have regime change in Iran! Does America believe they can just attack any Nation they wish and militarily re-design and shape it until it meets their desired vision? Sure sounds like it.

    And I'm sure Mid East Nations might say that the US is too dangerous, too irresponsible, and ttoo unpredictable, to have nuclear weapons. I know they flippant, arrogant attitudes sure scare me.

    "He goes back with a certain amount of reinforcement that those ideas have currency in the United States, and that is very damaging to the whole effort of being able to have regime change in Iran, to have the people of Iran get a sense of how unacceptable he really is," Giuliani said. "So I think we have to make it clear that we're not going to allow them to be a nuclear power. That means the military option is definitely on the table. We cannot appear hesitant about that."

    September 28, 2007 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    James, Phoenix AZ

    To quote Greenwald:

    Is the curriculum for history classes in some American states restricted to learning about Hitler and the Nazis and 1938 and Hitler and Germany? It must be, because there are many right-wing fanatics whose entire understanding of the world is reduced in every instance to that sole historical event - as though the world began in 1937, ended in 1945, and we just re-live that moment in time over and over and over:

    Love war? You are Churchill, a noble warrior. Oppose war? You're Chamberlain, a vile appeaser. And everyone else is Hitler.

    Just how is Ahmadinejad to be teh new Hitler? Has he invaded some country and I never heard about it? Face it, the real reason he is a controversial figure is that the American right (you) has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state.

    So the fact that Ahmadinejad questions some of the facts about the holocaust (please find me one direct quote where he denies it)is the reason we need to launch a pre-emptive war against Iran??

    Excuse me??

    Did you forget that the fact that he's largely a figurehead, since ultimate authority for domestic and foreign policy rests with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (hint: that's what "Supreme Leader" means)

    You say IRAN denies the holocaust. It must have been very exhuasting for you – travelling to every single Iranian household and obtaining their opinion on the matter. Excellent citations by the way.

    Again your suggestion that Iran would just launch a nuke attack on Israel the moment they got their hands on it is just absurd.

    Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah which are (depending on the angle you're looking at) resistance groups to illegal Israeli occupation. They are not "America Hating terrorists" because they were not created to oppose America. This is really quite simple to understand, I feel embarrassed to have to explain it to you like this.

    "Instead – you would rather we sit back, watch our enemies build an arsenal of nuclear weapons to be used against us, our allies, or in a neighboring conflict which could easily spiral into all-out nuclear war. Yeah – that's the responsible approach!"

    No, let's take Guiliani's approach.. it is much more reasonable to toss out trumped up allegations against Iran without the slightest bit of evidence and do everything in our power to provoke a war with a country who claims to want peace. That is so much more responsible. Thank you for clearing that up.

    September 28, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
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