Gingrich On Responding To Iran’s Nuclear Program: ‘The Red Line Is Now’

Newt Gingrich addresses the audience at AIPAC's annual conference

Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference this morning, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich promised that if elected president “we would not keep talking while the Iranians keep building.” Gingrich laid out his “red lines” — the term frequently used to describe the U.S. and/or Israel’s conditions for going to war with Iran — and indicated that Iran had already crossed the lines he would enforce as president.

Gingrich told the audience:

In a Gingrich administration we would not keep talking while the Iranians keep building. We would indicate clearly that their failure to stop their program is in fact crossing a red line. The red line is not the morning a bomb goes off. The red line is not the morning our intelligence community tells us they have failed once again. The red line is now because the Iranians now are deepening their fortifications, deepening their underground laboratories, deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons while we talk.

Watch him:

The former House speaker’s “red lines” suggest he is in favor of immediate military action and that the time for diplomacy has passed. But his characterization of Iran “deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons” completely disregards the intelligence reports from the IAEA and U.S. intelligence leadership.

In January, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director David Petraeus both endorsed the view that Iran has not yet decided whether to pursue a nuclear weapon. The IAEA has expressed concerns about possible military dimensions but has not concluded that Iran has restarted its nuclear weapons program.

While Gingrich’s scare statements like “the red line is now” serve as a political prop as he attempts to set himself apart in the GOP primary field as the most hawkish candidate, his words may undermine U.S. efforts to deter Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon. President Obama told an AIPAC audience on Sunday that “already there is too much loose talk of war” and warned “such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program.”