Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is developing a track record as an outspoken Iran hawk whenever questions about Iran’s nuclear program come up. Last month, he suggested that a war with Iran was inevitable, and earlier this week, he baselessly claimed that the Iranians have “already decided” that they want nuclear weapons.
But in an interview last night with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Huntsman staked out even more hawkish territory and committed to a ground invasion to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon:
BURNETT: Do you think at this point, unless we’re going to commit, and I’m curious whether you would commit to full on military conflict with Iran, that we have to accept that they will eventually be a nuclear power? It’s more important to figure out how to deal with that than to yell and scream about it happening when its inevitable anyway.
HUNTSMAN: Well, I think they’ve already made the decision to go nuclear. [...]
BURNETT: So, if push comes to shove and this is important, I’m not saying this is something you do tomorrow, but if push comes to shove, if what was between them and a nuclear weapon or there was an uncertainty, required troops invasion, you’d do it?
HUNTSMAN: I can’t live with the implications of not doing it. I can’t live with the thought of what a nuclear Iran brings to the region and what they said about Israel, which is our centerpiece alliance in the region. I can’t live — I can’t live with the world with a nuclear Iran.
So, then, you say, what do you do? And realistically, you got to have all options on the table. You got to be prepared to use all elements of national power.
While Jon Huntsman is confident that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, and is prepared to commit to a ground invasion of Iran to prevent it, neither the United Nations nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nor U.S. intelligence estimates have made that claim. Either Huntsman has access to information the IAEA and the White House aren’t acknowledging or he’s willing to go to war on a hunch.