(CNN) – Likely Republican Presidential candidate Fred Thompson told a London audience Tuesday “you cannot take the military option off the table” on dealing with Iran.
Thompson’s remarks came in a question and answer session following his foreign policy address to the Policy Exchange. The former Tennessee senator told the crowd there was three choices for dealing with Iran, “sanctions, regime change or a military option.”
He expressed hope that further sanctions and the possibility of a future blockade could help pressure Tehran to shut down its nuclear program. He noted, “we’ve made some progress on sanctions, but not nearly enough.”
Thompson said military action is not “the first thing that ought to be thrown out for consideration.” But, he later added, “ultimately you cannot take the military option off the table. You’re dealing with a country where terrorism and state sponsorship go hand in hand. They’re responsible for many of the activities of Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Taliban now in Afghanistan... not to mention what they’re doing in Iraq.”
He called Iran “a very, very serious threat” but added, “the first thing you got to do before we sign on a final plan of action is make sure all of the friends of world stability and freedom look at this threat and the nature of it the same way...we’re all in this together.”
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- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk