US Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has said he would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities upon his election as president if Tehran does not open up its sites for international arms inspectors.
Talking to NBC television’s “Meet the Press,” Santorum said he would tell the Iranian leaders to either open up those facilities, begin to dismantle them and make them available to the inspectors – or the US would attack them.
The former Pennsylvania senator also slammed US President Barack Obama for not doing enough to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. This, he said, risked turning the US into a “paper tiger.”
The remarks come as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran’s nuclear program has been diverted towards weapons production.
Last week, Head of Iran’s Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi welcomed the presence of IAEA inspectors in Iran, saying this can guarantee the presentation of realistic reports by the Agency.
On Monday, December 19, Western diplomats said Iran has reinstated an invitation offer for IAEA inspectors to visit the country after the IAEA chief rejected a previous October invitation, claiming that Tehran has refused to address the agency’s specific concerns.
Following the invitation, Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said on Tuesday, December 20, that Tehran is ready to address any concerns about its nuclear program.
Iranian officials have also expressed numerous concerns about repeated efforts by the IAEA inspectors to leak data about Iran’s nuclear program and scientists to foreign governments, leading to terrorist attacks against a number of Iranian nuclear scholars. The IAEA has so far ignored Iran’s concerns.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to push for the imposition of sanctions as well as to call for an attack on the country.
Iran, however, refutes such allegations as “baseless” and maintains that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA it has every right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.