WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards Thursday said a new intelligence assessment of Iran's nuclear program validated his opposition to the Bush administration's “saber rattling” against the Islamic republic.
"It means that the people like me who spoke up very strongly against Bush and Cheney on their saber rattling about Iran and against this the important resolution that the senate voted on the Iranian revolutionary guard - it means that we were right,” Edwards said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"It's now been verified that they needed to be stopped and there was no factual basis for them to continue this march to war,” the North Carolina Democrat said.
The new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, released Monday, said that Iran halted work toward a nuclear weapon in 2003 and is unlikely to be able to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb until at least 2010. The assessment was a reversal from a 2005 assessment that said that Iran was actively developing a nuclear weapon.
Edwards has been harshly critical of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, for voting for the resolution that declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, but during his interview with Blitzer, he declined to further attack Clinton.
"I've made it very clear that Senator Clinton voted for the resolution. I differ with her about that. We have a very different view,” Edwards said. “I think it's really important on this issue to stand up to Bush and Cheney and the neocons, and I made it clear at the time, and I stand by that.”
- CNN.com Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson