Casino mogul, and donor of millions of dollars to Republican campaigns and hawkish think tanks, Sheldon Adelson on Tuesday suggested that the use of a nuclear weapon against Iran could help end Tehran’s nuclear program once and for all.
Adelson was speaking on a panel called ““Will Jews Exist? Iran, Assimilation and the Threat to Israel and Jewish Survival,” at Yeshiva University, a private school in New York City. According to video taken and posted by Mondoweiss, Adelson scorned the current talks going on between the international community and Iran as not going nearly far enough to convince Iran not to acquire a nuclear weapon. “What are we gonna negotiate about?” Adelson scoffed, instead offering a much more direct method of convincing Iran to halt its enrichment activities.
“What I would say is, you see that desert out there? I wanna show you something,” Adelson can be heard saying on the video. “And so there’s an atomic weapon, goes over a ballistic missile, in the middle of the desert.” Adelson claimed that this wouldn’t affect anyone, except “maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever.” Despite that statement, a mapping of the fallout from the largest nuclear weapon the U.S. currently deploys, using the app NukeMap, shows that even a detonation in the middle of the desert would bring radiation to within 100 km of major Iranian cities.
This massive show of force, according to Adelson, would allow Americans to show resolve enough to make their next threat convincing. “Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran,’” Adelson said, advising that the Iranian capital with a population of 7 million people be placed under threat. “So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”
Watch his statements here:
During the last presidential campaign cycle, Adelson became a household name for his massive cash infusions to Newt Gingrich’s SuperPAC allowing the former Speaker of the House to stay in the race. After Gingrich’s exit, Adelson continued to pump cash into outside groups, donating a total of $92 million over the course of the cycle. Adelson has also donated heavily to groups that advocate for military action against Iran rather than negotiations to end the crisis diplomatically, including the Republican Jewish Coalition — which includes Adelson on its board — and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
But despite his overkill tactics, even Adelson seemed to agree that the idea of ending any and all nuclear activity in Iran was unlikely. “You wanna be peaceful, just reverse it all and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes — for energy purposes,” he said. That could only be achieved through a massive display of force, however, which Adelson said is “the only thing they understand.”