Reuters: Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday said the nuclear standoff with Iran was a dangerous situation that had been aggravated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “outrageous statements.” WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday said the nuclear standoff with Iran was a dangerous situation that had been aggravated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “outrageous statements.”
Cheney welcomed the action of the U.N. nuclear watchdog to report Iran to the Security Council as “the right step.” He said the United States was pursuing diplomacy to resolve the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions but said no options, including military action, were off the table.
“We think it’s dangerous and I think the international community believes that,” Cheney said in an interview to air on Tuesday night on PBS’s “Newshour.”
“I think everybody also has had their level of concern increase because of the current leadership in Iran,” Cheney said. “The new president has made some pretty outrageous statements.”
Ahmadinejad has prompted international condemnation for anti-Israel rhetoric in recent months, including saying the Jewish state should be wiped off the map and also calling into question the Holocaust.
“When you think about a government like Iran that has a history of sponsorship of terrorist organizations … a nation that is now governed by a man who has talked repeatedly, for example, about the destruction of Israel, that everybody’s concerned that if Iran were equipped with nuclear weapons, that would become a major source of instability in that part of the world,” Cheney said.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity for its economy but the United States and other international powers charge it is seeking to develop atomic weapons.
Cheney rejected parallels between Iran and Iraq, which the United States invaded in 2003 in part because of the belief it had weapons of mass destruction.
Cheney noted Tehran’s rejection of a Russian plan to enrich uranium for a civilian reactor in Iran and then reclaim the spent fuel as a sign that Tehran wanted its “own enrichment capacity to be able to go all the way to the levels required for a nuclear weapon.”
“So there doesn’t seem to be any doubt of what their intentions are.”