December 6th, 2007
05:40 PM ET
15 years ago

Edwards: NIE justifies opposition to Bush on Iran

Watch John Edwards in the Situation Room Thursday.

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.”

- Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. rdierker

    I don't think anyone is dismissing Iran as a potential threat, but potentially invading a country because we are told that they have WMDs, when in fact the country doesn't have WMDs,is the biggest threat we face out of Iran. We are the threat to ourselves. Something tells me that invading a country under false pretenses might not be a good idea, but you know, I wouldn't know because I've been living under a rock for the last 5 years.

    Seriously though, is that all it takes? Bush says there is a new big bad enemy out there and he is the only one who can fight it, and people just eat it right up, even after all we've gone through . Adults are behaving like children. At least Edwards got it right the second time around. The real leader is Obama though, who read the intelligence estimates about Iraq before the Iraq War and made the right call then based on the information we had collected rather than the rhetoric Bush was spewing. Hillary still hasn't learned from her mistakes and thats the type of experience that will lead us nowhere.

    December 7, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Marc, Lafayette CA

    "The assessment was a reversal from a 2005 assessment that said that Iran was actively developing a nuclear weapon."

    Either the NIE was WRONG in their 2005 assessment or Bush's policy regarding Iran was RIGHT and caused the reversal.

    Posted By L, NY : December 7, 2007 8:58 am

    Well, L, Apparently you DIDN'T READ THE REPORT! The current version states that Iran's atom bomb project was halted in 2003...WAY before Bush started upping his rhetoric on Iran.

    You are wrong, Bush had NOTHING to do with it...neither did Senator Clinton's vote to label Iran's Qhuds force a terrorist organization, alhtough they'd both like you to believe the opposite.

    Try READING and doing your own research once in a while rather than just listening to what these lying politicians (on both sides) say on Fox/CNN bought their load of crap hook line and sinker.

    December 7, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    I am not voting for Mr. Edwards but he has a few good points. I am a simple man, but informed. The way I see this Iran thing is:
    1. They as a sovereign nation and an original member in 1968 of the IAEA along with many other countries that stated they are allowed to pursue peaceful nuclear technology.
    2. They have yet to attack any US interests and are only saying what they have a right to do. We would do the same thing as a country if we were an original member of a treaty and then years later, we were told that we could not do it any more because we MIGHT be a threat in the future. I wish I had Bush's all seeing, all knowing crystal ball!
    3. The ONLY justification for war would be if their technology got out or we were attacked either on our shores or overseas.

    -I look at it like this. My sons likes to goof of in school every now and then as most 6th grade boys do, but does that mean I can discipline them before they do anything wrong?
    “Dad, why are you spanking me? Well, son, I think you are going to goof off tomorrow so I am getting you ahead of time.” That is what Bush and the GOP is trying and wants to do.
    4. Bush and the GOP will stop at noting to get another crony elected. He was told in August that the status of Iran might change, but he went ahead and made the “WW 3” comment anyway. Why? To scare us? Only to make his case for another WAR.
    5. The GOP scares me more than Iran does. Iran has never taxed me to death. Iran does not invade my daily life with war talk and beating the war drums.
    6. I care about this country, and the problems we have HERE; not some third world nation that has done nothing to me as of yet or that might or might not have these weapons.

    I know most of you think I am a nut, but that is the way I see it. I hope you see what I am trying to say.

    December 7, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. SPS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Throughout the campaign we've clearly learned that Hillary Clinton is far too polarizing and Barak Obama far too timid to win in a general election. Before caucusing or voting, Democrats should imagine how brutally the Republicans would exploit those shortcomings if either of these people were the nominee.

    John Edwards is the only candidate of the top three that can win. He's provided a detailed plan on every issue, and is tough as nails. Clinton and Obama elevate our hopes for gender and racial equality, but would break Democrats' hearts in November.

    December 7, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. hmmm...OKLAHOMA


    All I have seen you post on this board are anti-Obama, and anti-Democrat views. I don't think that makes you an independent, I think it makes you a Republican. Don't worry, maybe you'll get a chance to vote for Jeb Bush in 2012...

    December 7, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. Allie Stanley, Niceville FL

    If you think John Edwards' 'sweetness and light' approach to relations with Iran would benefit the USA, think some more. The government of Iran headed by militant muslims has already identified the USA as a future target along with Israel. Don't let yourself by fooled by sweet talk.

    December 7, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Chuck Jax,FL

    John from VA:
    You state: "They have yet to attack any US interests and are only saying what they have a right to do". How can you say this knowing that Iran is directly involved in the killing of US Soldiers and Marines in Iraq? That alone is an act of war. Combine that with a madman in control of their country and its secretive nuclear ambitions, and you have a very dangerous rogue state that needs to be dealt with by whatever means necessary. They are mastering the most difficult element of creating a nuclear weapon in front of the entire international community. Once the uranium enrichment is done, its only a matter of months before a weapon could be made. This is the time to increase the pressure – not back off, stick our heads in the sand and hope they don't restart their weapons program on a whim.

    December 7, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Calvin Preddie, Mississauga, ON, Canada

    Does the fact that Iran ceased its attempt to develop a nuclear weapon change the nature of the activities of the Revolutionary Guard that is described as a terrorist organization? I would bet that if Mr. Edwards was acting as their lawyer, he would point out that the Revolutionary Guard, even if connected to Iran is not Iran.

    There must be some conditions that were used to describe the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Their activities either fit into these categories, or they do not and if they do, then that designation is a correct one whther it would have justified U.S. military action or not.

    December 7, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Dave, NY, NY

    Mr. Edwards is one funny guy seeing as how the North Koreans managed to get nuclear weapons even though our intelligence didn't say that was going to happen. But hey I guess he trusts the intelligence 100% as long as it backs his view. Too bad a smart man takes everything with a grain of salt and doesn't run around saying I told you so. Smart guys like that usually turn out to be clowns in the end,

    December 7, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    Chuck, you and I must be the only ones still a little uneasy about Iran. The liberals think because one report comes out that now Iran is ready to be our best friends. I guess now we can all go back to HAPPY THOUGHTS :), right? Group hug guys!

    Amazing how so many people conveniently forget the FACT that Iran is supporting and arming terrorist organizations across the world in an effort to hurt our troops and country. But, hey, war makes people uncomfortable, so let's not talk about it anymore.

    December 7, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. David, Dallas Tx

    Chuck Jax said, Anyone else find it extremely dangerous to dismiss Iran as a threat already?

    If you mean dismiss them as a direct threat to mainland United States, I think they're safe to dismiss. Their military can't reach us and couldn't compete with ours if they could. And they're too sensitive to geopolitics to get involved in real terrorism, like blowing up WTC. Regardless whether you define giving bombs to Iraqi insurgents qualifies as terrorism, it's not exactly blowing up the WTC, is it?

    If you mean dismiss their ability to hamper our national interests in the middle east in particular and our diplomatic efforts globally, then yes, they can do that, and we'd be foolish to ignore it.

    Of course, neither Bush, the NIE, nor any presidential candidate is actually suggesting we do THAT.

    December 7, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    Hey Chuck and Brad, it must be real easy to want to go to war when you have no idea the cost of it. I am in the US NAVY, Chief Gunner's Mate, and the last thing I want is more WAR. But hey, you guys don't have to fight right? Just like Bush and the GOP, send in american boys to take the bullets and bombs that they themselves deserve. You want this fight....then enlist and go fight it. I dont mean to come off rude, but try to remember that there is a cost.......

    December 7, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Chuck Jax,FL

    Thank you for your service to this country John, but nobody WANTS another war. And this is America with an all volunteer military – if you choose to join the military, then, well, you may be called to duty. My point is however, why is this intel estimate taken as absolute fact, when the previous reports are completely discredited? If this report said just the opposite, that Iran had a nuke today, then every liberal in the world would be screaming "LIES!" I just find it interesting that so many people have absolute faith in this estimate (the whole two pages released) but say that the previous NIEs are nothing but Republican lies spun in an effort to lead us to another war. There is an obvious and ongoing threat from Iran – lets not let our guard down just yet.

    December 7, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. John Wilson, Racine, WI

    Iran will eventually possess nuclear weapons. Let me repeat that because is seems vaguely enlightening, if not prophetic. Iran will eventually possess nuclear weapons.

    The USA does NOT attack nations that possess nuclear weapons.

    This is the over-riding reason that Iran or any nation for that matter will pursue a nuclear weapons path.

    Does anyone remember India and their acquiring nuclear weapons? Well, they exploded an underground nuclear device and shocked the USA INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY and the world! Who knew? We, that would be the USA, had not a clue that they were working on this technology. Once the shock subsided we attempted to slap their wrist. Then, we sent them all our nuclear experts, armed with the latest nuclear technologies, to assist them in the development of nuclear technologies.

    Fundamentally, neither the USA nor our allies, including the UN can stop them, short of starting WWIII.
    So, the only question us AMERICANS have to answer is: Do we want to live in a world where Iran has nuclear weapons – good gosh, they may attack us OR NOT! – Or do we want to start WWIII?

    Got it?

    December 7, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Joe Bloggs, Haiku, HI

    Hey, Chuck:

    You Repugnant dittodorks are really good at building up 'straw man' arguments. If some of us are able to see how this report gives further proof of how Bushco never let the facts get in the waqy of their rhetoric, it does not mean that we think that we can now all go out on a picnic with the Iranian leaders. This "youre' either for us or against us" argument is that same BS that fooled most of you so0-called 'patriotic' AMericans to go along with Bushco's illegal war in the first place!

    December 7, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Daniel ~ Longview, WA.

    Ron Paul is right about the CIA, and it's fleshing out.

    Right about Iraq.

    Right about Iran.

    Right about NASHighway.

    Right about the Fed.

    Right about war propoganda.

    Right about blowback.

    Right for America Right Now.

    Don't keep the same apparatice in power.

    Ron Paul is the only one standing up and speaking the truth!

    Google Ron Paul.

    Vote Ron Paul.

    December 8, 2007 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  17. R.C. Granke, Madison, WI

    There are a lot of very mean spirited people saying negatives about John Edwards. It's too bad, because their reasoning is not real or accurate. They make very unreasonable comments against the most reasonable presidental candidate. Despicable people.

    December 9, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Jim, Hickory, NC

    R.C. Granke, Madison, WI:

    R.C., get you head out of the snow...Edwards is not who he says he is...9M North Carolinians can't be wrong.

    December 9, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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