Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the US use military force if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following during a Dec. 30, 2011 interview with Robert Siegel on NPRs All Things Considered, "Johnson Discusses Seeking Libertarian Nomination," available at www.npr.org:
"I also happen to think that Israel, you know, we were responsible for the creation of Israel and that was through the United Nations; that they've been a strong military ally, that they will remain such. I do not think a military threat right now exists from Iran, but we should be vigilant to that. And I think it's naive to think that Israel is not going to act in their best interests should there be weapons of mass destruction showing themselves.
SIEGEL: And you would say the U.S. should support an Israeli action in that case, if Israel were to act militarily?
JOHNSON: Well, I would argue that that would probably be in our best interest. And to have them do that is a better situation than U.S. men and servicewomen engaged in the same." Dec. 30, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in his Mar. 4, 2012 speech titled "Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy Conference," available at www.whitehouse.gov:
"[A]s President and Commander-in-Chief, I have a deeply held preference for peace over war. I have sent men and women into harm’s way. I've seen the consequences of those decisions in the eyes of those I meet who've come back gravely wounded, and the absence of those who don’t make it home. Long after I leave this office, I will remember those moments as the most searing of my presidency. And for this reason, as part of my solemn obligation to the American people, I will only use force when the time and circumstances demand it. And I know that Israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to defend their country.
We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.
I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.
Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests." Mar. 4, 2012 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following during a Nov. 12, 2011 CBS News and National Journal Republican debate held in Spartanburg, SC:
“The president should have built credible threat of military action, and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know-- and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you'd like me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon…
Well, it's worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It's worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we've done, there's nothing else we can do beside mil-- take military action, then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” Nov. 12, 2011 Mitt Romney
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, was quoted in a Mar. 5, 2012 article "Obama's Own Iran Statements Are 'Loose Talk of War,' Says Stein," available at www.jillstein.org:
"A hallmark of a Stein administration will be respect for international law and a rejection of the Bush doctrine of preemptive war that Obama and his party have come to embrace. The interests of the American people are not served by illegal attacks on other nations based on hypothetical future transgressions. Yet President Obama is threatening Iran with attack by saying that 'all options are on the table'. It’s a terrible replay of Bush's run-up to the invasion of Iraq over the mythical weapons of mass destruction...
A US or Israeli airstrike on Iran would have severe repercussions for the American people. It would produce a global oil supply crisis that would send our entire economy into a tailspin. And it could lead to retaliatory attacks on Israeli and American citizens. We need to take a clear stand against nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, but preemptive attacks, especially for a problem that is not even in evidence, are counterproductive and must not be on the table. The mindset that every problem requires a military response has gotten us into trouble again and again, and its disappointing to see the Obama Administration going down that road yet again." Mar. 5, 2012 Jill Stein
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), said the following in a Nov. 21, 2011 interview with Manchester, NH's Union Leader editorial board, as quoted by Jonathan Easley's Nov. 22, 2011 article "Gingrich: 'Wage Real Cyber Warfare' to Take Down Iran's Regime," available at TheHill.com:
"If we get to a point where the military believes that they [Iran] are truly on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, I would be prepared to use military force." Nov. 21, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Dec. 15, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate hosted by Fox News and the Republican Party of Iowa in Sioux City, IA, available at www.presidency.ucsb.edu:
"For you to say that there is some scientific evidence and some people arguing that maybe in a year they [Iran] might have a [atomic] weapon, there's a lot more saying they don't have it.
There's no U.N. evidence of that happening. [James] Clapper at the - in our national security department, he says there is no evidence. It's no different than it was in 2003. You know what I really fear about what's happening here? It's another Iraq coming. There's war propaganda going on...
All we're doing is promoting their desire to have it. Ehud Barak, the defense minister for Israel, said that - that, if he were in - in Iran, he would probably want a nuclear weapon, too, because they're surrounded, for geopolitical reasons. So that's an understanding.
So the fact that they are surrounded, they have a desire. And how do we treat people when they have a nuclear weapon? With a lot more respect. What did we do with Libya? We talked to them. We talked them out of their nuclear weapon. And then we killed them...
Sanctions are an act of war when you prevent goods and services from going into a country. We need to approach this a little differently. We have 12,000 diplomats in our services. We ought to use a little bit of diplomacy once in a while." Dec. 15, 2011 Ron Paul
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following during a Nov. 22, 2011 interview on MSNBC's Martin Bashir Show, available on his official YouTube.com page under the title "'The GOP Candidates Are Weak in Foreign Policy' - Gov. Buddy Roemer on MSNBC's Martin Bashir":
"I don’t think most of them [other Republican presidential candidates] would stop products made elsewhere with Iranian oil from comming into America... I don't think most of them have taken a stand on nuclear non-proliferation except to send our army somewhere - ridiculous...
I think he [President Obama] joins Bill Clinton and George W. Bush on being too little, too late, too slow, on nuclear proliferation with Iran." Nov. 22, 2011 Buddy Roemer
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during the Dec. 15, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate hosted by Fox News and the Republican Party of Iowa in Sioux City, IA, available at www.presidency.ucsb.edu:
"Iran is not any other country. It is a country that is ruled by the equivalent of al Qaeda on top of this country. They are a radical theocracy. The principle virtue of the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to President Ahmadinejad, is not freedom, opportunity, it's martyrdom.
The idea, Ron [Paul], that mutual assured destruction, like the policy during the Cold War with the Soviet Union would work on Iran when their principle virtue is martyrdom, is - mutual assured destruction with respect to Iran would not be any kind of, you know, idea of preventing a war. It would be an inducement to a war.
This is what their objective is. Their objective is to in fact create a calamity. This is what their theology teaches. They believe that it is their mission to take on the West. They don't hate us because of what we do or the policies we have. They hate us because of who we are and what we believe in.
And we need to make sure that they do not have a nuclear weapon. And we should be working with the state of Israel right now. We should use covert activity. And we should be planning a strike against their facilities and say, if you do not open up those facilities and not close them down, we will close them down for you." Dec. 15, 2011 Rick Santorum