October 13th, 2011
06:49 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum on the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons program

Washington (CNN) – GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Thursday that as president he would use "whatever means necessary" to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear program, including going to war.

In an effort to halt the steps he says Iran is taking to grow a nuclear weapons program, the former Pennsylvania senator said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" that in addition to using covert operations he would order "actual operations within the country to make sure the program does not continue."

"What happened just a couple of days ago that was thwarted will be a regular occurrence, not just in the U.S. but around the world if Iran has a nuclear shield to protect them," Santorum argued, referring to the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the White House said the alleged attempt was spearheaded and organized by elements in the Iranian regime.

"That cannot happen. As president I would make sure [Iran] does not have that nuclear capability and use whatever means necessary to make sure that happens," he asserted.

Santorum also said he would try other options before utilizing the military.

"I think there are a lot of things we can do before any kind of direct military strikes."

Santorum has languished near the bottom of recent polls. In a CNN Poll of Polls released Thursday, he placed seventh out of eight candidates.

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Filed under: 2012 • Iran • Nuclear power • Nuclear weapons • Rick Santorum • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. PaulC

    The repugs can't afford health care but can afford a war every 10 years. God help us.

    October 13, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Ed DFWTX

    A Santorum Presidency would mean a war with Iran and no effective diplomacy. He would be worse than Bush. VFor those who forgot Bush created an almost depression with unfunded tax cuts, unfunded wars, unfunded drug programs, unfunded bail outs. So, Santorum could do better? I don't think our country could afford to find out. Obama 2012!

    October 13, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Slightly Left of Center

    Wait. What? Santorum is running for President?

    October 13, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. one voice

    Why don't this CLOWN just pack it in!!!

    October 13, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Excuse me, Senator? Has it occurred to you that if you engage Iran in a military conflict that someone who depends upon their oil might come to their aid? Starting WW3 isn't an option, Senator.

    October 13, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. Brian Richards

    Did he say how he was going to pay for that war? I didn't hear that part.

    It seems when conservatives bang the gong for war, they lose their desire to pay for it. Nixon in Vietnam, Bush II and the war on terror.

    Look at FDR and his taxes to pay for WWII - the old Tax-and-Win strategy. Drop the big one and pay for it.

    October 13, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Who will tell this dipstick that we spent all our money in a war where we wanted to get the guy who tried to get Bush's daddy? If Santorum wasn't so damn dumb, he would know that 'things' are being done and Iran is being forced into fewer and fewer options. Go home Rick, you and Michele are starting to wear on people.

    October 13, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  8. Donkey Party

    Is there any question as to why he's so low in the polls?

    October 13, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Question for Rick, "How is repealing DADT going to scare Iran?"

    October 13, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    When was the last National Security Council meeting Santorum attended? Or sat in on the Presidential Daily Briefing? Or had privvy to top secret security and military information?

    * crickets *

    October 13, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  11. Ron

    Poor guy. Still wasting money and still can't get any traction. Stop the madness, please. You are done. Drop the campaign and go back to being invisible.

    October 13, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. portland tony

    Well sir...Whose military are you going to attack and occupy Iran with? And whose going to pay for it?...Or are we just gonna nuke em?

    October 13, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  13. marty

    We said it when you were in Pennsylvania, Rick, and we're saying it now.......GO AWAY....FAR AWAY!

    October 13, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  14. Henry Miller

    So long as Israel, with America's knowledge and concurrence, has nukes, it's utterly hypocritical to try to assert that Iran can't have them. This sort of double standard is what's killing us in the mid-east.

    October 13, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Fazil

    Let Santorum get a suit of mail, a helmet, a shield, a sword and lance, a horse and a backpack full of oreo cookies and 3 bottles of Coke. Then he can go on a Crusade and defeat the evil Iranians. When done he can convert the survivors, if any, to Christianity.

    October 13, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. thomas

    GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum needs to go home , spend more time with his family .

    Sorry Rick , your not who this country needs at this point and time .

    October 13, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. GOP = Greed Over People

    Obviously he is not looking at his national polling numbers, otherwise, he would know no one cares what he thinks.

    October 13, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  18. John/kc

    Another war monger republican. This is why the guy has a 1% following.

    October 13, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. T'sah from Virginia

    For an attempt to murder someone on our soil – that failed, is NOT a reason to go to war!!

    October 13, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. ED FL

    That figures another GOP draft dodging coward ready to send other peoples kids off to war. You Gop'ers could be used better than birth control pills to control the population the way you do and want to send the countries kids off to get killed.Then if injured you wish to stop them from treatment. You were not born you were hatched.

    October 13, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  21. 1CSM

    Santorium throw in the towel, you can barely stand on any principal.

    October 13, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. J.V.Hodgson

    So he's this Iranian guy has been charged. Is he not innocent until proven guilty? Santorum's remarks are obscenely rude and provocative and can only damage any further efforts at a negotiated settlement.
    If he cannot see that the threat of war ( after diplomatic efforts...) what does he think Nato and the US have being doing? Each time a re-calcitrant Iran refuses a political resolution and will continue to do so until it as a soverign state achieves its goal(s) of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, this is inevitable and Santorum would take the US into another war we cannot afford!! Forget Nato they can afford it even less and even more less so will the American people or European nation's people support such a war.
    These comments will take him out of the race.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    October 14, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  23. The Greedy Old Pigs are a neocon Deathcult!

    It sure looks like the entire GOBP neocon deathcult is determined to take America to war with Iran. What a disaster that would be for our country. We have far bigger problems to deal with here at home.

    October 14, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  24. Donkey Party

    One would think Santorum's main objective in life would be to clear the Google result when you search for his name.

    October 14, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |