“For years now, the Islamic Republic of Iran has defied and played games with every international effort aimed at persuading the country to halt enriching uranium,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, said in a statement. “Sanctions and other pressures must be continued and stepped up until Iran complies by halting enrichment activities in a verifiable way.”
That was a shift in tone from his previous comments, but he did not say that he may have overstated the case against Iran.
In October, speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition, Mr. Giuliani said: “As we all know, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and they’re threatening to use them. If I’m president of the United States, I guarantee you we will never find out what they will do if they get nuclear weapons, because they’re not going to get nuclear weapons.”
Other Republican candidates echoed Mr. Giuliani in suggesting continued adherence to a muscular approach to Iran. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has talked more often about the theoretical challenge of a nuclear-armed leadership in Tehran than about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When asked about the intelligence report at a news conference here, he did not back down from his past statements.
“I believe we are always strongest when we negotiate from a position of resolve,” he said. “The economic and diplomatic sanctions that I described make all the sense in the world.”
As to his past language about the potential for a need to confront Iran, he said, “Of course we will maintain our military options.”
Neither Mr. Giuliani nor Mr. Romney seemed to address the idea that their past hawkish statements were based on intelligence that has proved flawed — reminiscent of the intelligence about unconventional weapons that led to the war in Iraq. [emphasis added]
“I have not said anything in that regard I regret,” Mr. Romney said.
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, has taken a slightly different line on Iran than his rivals, often focusing on reports that it was supplying weapons to militias in Iraq that were being used against American troops.
Mr. McCain said the release of the report was such a “rare occasion” that he would still “have to try and make sense of it” before commenting in depth. But he did say that Iran was still bent on the destruction of Israel and on interfering in Iraq, and that therefore the sanctions against Tehran were appropriate. Referring to the war in Iraq, he said, “We were deceived by intelligence reports in that situation,” and because of that, the public is “justifiably skeptical.”
Irancove @ December 4, 2007