Candidates differ on Iran retaliation


The U.S. Democratic presidential candidates offered different takes on responding to any Iranian attack on Israel.

Asked in Wednesday night’s debate in Pennsylvania whether the U.S. Cold War-era policy of deterrence should be extended to Israel, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said an Iranian attack on Israel would be “unacceptable, and the United States would take appropriate action.”

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) was more specific, saying, “I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States, but I would do the same with other countries in the region.”

Clinton said the United States should offer protection to any Middle East country that comes under its protective “umbrella of deterrence.”


“We will let the Iranians know that, yes, an attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation, but so would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under the security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions,” she said.

Obama said he would work to prevent Iran from obtaining and using nuclear weapons, and called for direct talks with Iran.


“I will take no options off the table when it comes to preventing them from using nuclear weapons or obtaining nuclear weapons,” Obama said. “And that would include any threats directed at Israel or any of our allies.”

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