The threat of a nuclear strike against Israel would justify a military strike on Iran, three Republican candidates for president said. “The tripwire is that if they acquire these weapons and our intelligence tells us that this is a real threat to the State of Israel, to other states in the region,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday evening on MSNBC in the first debate of the 10 candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination. McCain cited a scenario where Iran was ready to hand a nuclear weapon to a terrorist group. Two candidates, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), were asked what they would do if the Israeli prime minister called to say that Israel was about to strike Iran and wanted American help. Both candidates said they’d say “yes,” provided they knew Iran was ready to strike Israel. “If there is a threat to the existence of the State of Israel, which is by the way I think a potential threat to the existence of the United States, then you have to come to the aid of Israel,” Tancredo said. Giuliani said he would seek to confirm the claim with U.S. intelligence. “It really depends on what our intelligence says,” he said. “The reality is, the use of military force against Iran would be very dangerous, very provocative; the only thing worse would be Iran being a nuclear power.”
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