June 19th, 2007
02:45 PM ET
12 years ago

Thompson open to military action against Iran

Watch CNN's Richard Quest explain why Thompson went to England Tuesday.

(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

Filed under: Fred Thompson
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Connie, Louisville, Tn.

    This is a foreign policy just like Bush has. "My way or the Highway". Just what we need to get people on our side.

    June 19, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. B Scarborough Columbia, SC

    As much as I would hate to end up in Iran, if you take the military option off the table, what does Iran have to lose?

    June 19, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Farzad, Norman, OK

    Military action against Iran will not solve any problem. It will escalte the violence and tension in the Middle East. I don't understand why none of the major Republican candidates are in favor of talking to Iranians. The United States talked to China so they could talk to the Iranians.

    June 19, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. no one important, Texas, USA

    Hmph, Iran is a brave country. To stand against the USA in such an open and obvious way in this day and age is just sheer madness in my opinion.

    You think Iran is poor now? ha! Imagine for a moment a full US-Coalition air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, all it's major cities, all it's infrastructure, and what little oil refineries they have.. those can get bombed too. How will your nuclear program be then Iran? How bout Iran's struggling economy?

    I'm all about trying to resolve things peacefully.. but Iranian government has a deathwish in my opinion.

    I think the message to the Iranian people should be very clear: Take charge of your land.. and those who govern it, and then at that point.. take a proactive role in stabilizing the middle east for your people / own country’s benefit. Or else.

    Sooner or later.. the USA will deal with Iran and countries like them and it won't be pretty to say the least.

    June 19, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. Bruce, Franklin, TN

    Any competent leader will tell you that to telegraph your intentions by ruling, in or out, any options is foolhardy and a serious advantage to the other side.

    Iran is an unstable and irresponsible regime with a delusional puppet of the fundamentalist theocrats as its spokesperson. How do you have a meaningful conversation with someone who denies the Holocaust?

    As Teddy Roosevelt said so well over 100 years ago "walk softly, but carry a big stick." The military option is the big stick.

    June 19, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Mark Morales, Lavallette, NJ

    How is Iran a "very, very serious threat"? Ridiculous! Iran has not invaded a country in over a hundred years. America is the one invading nations left and right, yet we, the largest military superpower in the world, feel threatened by Iran!

    June 19, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. Ida Dunner, Los Angeles, CA

    Quick Fact Check: Iran

    -World's largest state sponsor of terror
    -Supplies weapons that are killing US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan
    -Has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map"
    -Has made hostile statements unprecedented in the history of the United Nations
    -Continues to defy UN sanctions prohibiting uranium enrichment
    -Ruled by mullahs who's vision is to reinstate a Taliban-like Islamic caliphate across the entire Middle East
    -Calls the United States the "Great Satan"; Israel the "Little Satan"

    June 20, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |