Will Rick Santorum's vow to bomb Iran help or hurt him in Iowa?
January 3rd, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Will Rick Santorum's vow to bomb Iran help or hurt him in Iowa?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Rick Santorum - the latest Republican candidate to see a surge in Iowa - says he would bomb Iran if it doesn't scrap its nuclear program.

Santorum says as president he would insist Iran open its nuclear facilities to inspectors and dismantle them. Otherwise, he promises to quote "degrade those facilities through air strikes." Translation: Bomb them.

santorum vows that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on his watch.

Apparently a little sabre rattling couldn't hurt. with all eyes on Iowa today - Santorum has jumped in the polls there. The latest poll shows him in third place, behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Santorum says Iowa is "moving" his way, and that he's very confident he will "finish well." The former Pennsylvania Senator says he has enthusiasm and momentum, both vital to the caucus process.

But how much might Santorum's tough talk against Iran have to do with his Iowa surge?

Iran has been making a lot of noise lately... as it finishes up 10 days of test firing missiles during Naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz.

Last week Iran threatened to close down the Strait, a strategic shipping channel through which one-sixth of the world's oil passes.

Iran's threat comes on the heels of planned sanctions by the west targeting its oil industry. The sanctions are meant to force Iran to cut back its nuclear program.

But Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and refuses to halt its production of enriched uranium.

Here’s my question to you: Will Rick Santorum's vow to bomb Iran help or hurt him in Iowa?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Iowa • Iran • Rick Santorum
May 3rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Any reason to take Iran seriously on nuclear weapons?


Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the delegation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference today at the United Nations in New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The circus is in town at the United Nations today. The president of Iran is here in New York for an international summit on nuclear non-proliferation.

Delegates from the U.S., England and France walked out of the general assembly... as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted America and Israel for possessing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad says countries that threaten to use atomic weapons should be punished - a direct reference to the Obama administration's new nuclear strategy.

The White House calls Ahmadinejad's speech predictable and full of "wild accusations"... and the UN is blaming Ahmadinejad for the standoff over its nuclear program.

Iran continues to insist it is enriching uranium for civilian energy. The west says they're developing nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad comes from a country that lives in its own world... ignoring reality and science - and blaming natural disasters on promiscuous women.

A top Iranian cleric claims women who wear immodest clothing "lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity... and spread adultery" which causes earthquakes.

Another senior government official says prayers and pleas for forgiveness are the best way to "repel" earthquakes.

The latest absurdity comes from the Iranian police who say they will put women with suntans in jail. This is all part of an effort to crack down on quote "social misbehavior" that violates Islamic laws.

We should be talking to these people about the origin of fire or why wheels are round.

Here’s my question to you: Is there any reason to take Iran seriously in a discussion on nuclear weapons?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran
February 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

What if U.N. is right about Iran building a nuclear weapon?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Same old, same old from Iran... we're not seeking nor do we believe in nuclear bombs.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/09/iran.flag.jpg caption=""]
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the Islamic Republic's religious beliefs consider weapons of mass destruction to be "symbols of genocide," and therefore they are forbidden.

How different from a draft report from the UN nuclear watchdog suggesting just the opposite. The international atomic energy agency report says Iran may be working secretly on a nuclear warhead for a missile - and lists ways the country has been defying UN orders.

For the first time, the IAEA states concerns that Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons right now.

Iran continues to insist its nuclear program is meant only for civilian energy and for medical use. Sort of like, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

The UN keeps passing resolutions against Iran - three so far - and some nations are pushing for another resolution. What do these resolutions mean exactly? I don't understand. Pres. Obama gave Iran a deadline of the new year to show they were making progress. What did that deadline mean exactly? I don't understand.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 6 in 10 Americans think the U.S. should take economic and diplomatic efforts to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program. Haven't we been doing that? Only about a quarter want the U.S. to take immediate military action.

But if diplomacy doesn't work, nearly 60 percent support military action. 71 percent think Iran already has nuclear weapons. Swell.

Here’s my question to you: What now if the U.N. is right about Iran building a nuclear weapon?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran
January 5th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Supporting Iran's protesters better than negotiating with government?


Supporters of Iran's regime took to the streets in Tehran last week in a show of force against the opposition, which it accused of being "pawns of the enemies." (PHOTO CREDIT: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The answer to the nuclear standoff in Iran may lie in the bloody seven-month-long pro-democracy protests in the streets of that country.

Last week - Tehran saw some of the most violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces in months... leaving at least eight people dead. Since then - hundreds of thousands of protesters have held rallies across the country.

Iranians are climbing to their rooftops at night and screaming "death to the dictator" and "death to Khamenei."

President Obama has said that the Iranian regime is engaged in "the violent and unjust suppression" of its citizens, who want nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. He says the regime is using the "iron fist of brutality" and governing through fear and tyranny.

Meanwhile - Iran blew off President Obama's January first deadline of making progress on the nuclear issue. The U.S. insists Iran wants to build nuclear weapons - while Tehran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

The end of the year deadline passed and nothing happened. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is open to further negotiations with Tehran - and that new sanctions are also possible. That's worked so well in the past.

But some suggest the best way to deal with the nuclear issue in Iran is to empower these democratic protesters - instead of offering economic and political incentives to the country's rulers and continuing endless negotiations. They say the U.S. should get behind the opposition... which is determined to topple the government.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Iran's nuclear ambitions, is supporting pro-democracy protesters a better option than negotiating with the government?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran
December 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Time to take aggressive action against Iran?


Iranian soldiers stand near a S-200 surface-to-air missile during military maneuvers. (PHOTO CREDIT: Ali Shayegan/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to Iran's nuclear program... the country just keeps thumbing its nose at the rest of the world.

The Times of London reports it has gotten its hands on secret documents that show Iran is working on testing a key final part for a nuclear bomb. The notes describe a four-year plan to test the component that triggers a nuclear explosion.

It's believed these documents are from 2007 - four years after Iran was thought to have ended its weapons program.

Tehran has repeatedly said that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but with these new documents, experts insist there's no possible use for what the Iranians are doing here - except for a nuclear bomb.

The latest revelation will likely increase pressure for tougher UN sanctions... not like it really matters. Iran has already pretty much ignored 3 sets of sanctions meant to curb its uranium enrichment program.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of students filled the streets of Iran for two days last week in the biggest anti-government protests in months. Many protesters shouted slogans against the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and chanted "Death to the Dictator."

The U.S. insists it won't sit by and ignore the protests in Iran... with one top diplomat saying the Iranian people "deserve decent treatment from their government."

Also today - Iran says it will try those three American hikers jailed since crossing the Iraqi border last summer. Iran has accused the Americans of spying - but the U.S. insists they were tourists. Some worry Iran could use them as bargaining chips in nuclear talks.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran
July 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How can U.S. prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. will do everything it can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is futile.

The tough talk comes after Clinton annoyed Israel last week when she said the U.S. would cope with a nuclear Iran by arming allies in the region and extending a "defense umbrella." Israel said the U.S. should focus on stopping Iran from getting a weapon, instead of acting like it's a done deal.

Iran insists they are enriching uranium for energy. A lot of people think they're lying.

Meanwhile the U.S. is trying to convince Israel that diplomatic efforts with Iran are worthwhile. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - who met in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today - says the U.S. hopes to make progress with Iran by September.

President Obama has warned Tehran that it has until the end of the year to show serious progress toward ending its nuclear program.

According to Netanyahu, Gates said the U.S. and Israel see eye-to-eye when it comes to Iran's nuclear threat. Netanyahu stresses "the need to use all means" to stop Iran from getting a weapon. Other Israeli officials have also said that "no option should be removed from the table."

The U.S. is worried that if Israel goes ahead with a pre-emptive strike against Iran - it could create even more problems in the Middle East.

Here’s my question to you: How can the U.S. prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran • United States
July 6th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

VP Biden said Israel is free to set its own course on Iran. What does this mean?


Vice Pres. Biden poses for a photo with U.S. soldiers at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad on the Fourth of July. (PHOTO CREDIT: KHALID MOHAMMED/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There is some question whether Vice President Joe Biden did it again. Over the weekend, Biden said that the U.S. would not stand in the way if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities. Some say this signals a change in U.S. policy - drawing a harder line against Iran.

But the White House said the statement simply maintains what they've always said: That Israel has the right to defend itself.

The Vice President also said that the U.S. remains willing to negotiate with Iran, in spite of the recent violence that erupted in the wake of the contested re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama and said he'd wait it out for the rest of this year to see if Iran is willing to talk. When asked if this was the right approach, Vice President Biden did not say whether or not the U.S. agrees with the position, but did say: "Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation; what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else."

Here’s my question to you: Vice President Biden said Israel is free to set its own course on Iran. What does this mean?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran • Israel • Vice President Joe Biden
June 24th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

When it comes to Iran, can women make the difference?


Supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate in Tehran. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Ordinary women have been playing an extraordinary role in the events following Iran's disputed election.

The most powerful example - the 26-year-old woman named Neda, who seemed to be only observing a demonstration when she was gunned down in the streets of Tehran with a single bullet to the chest. A crudely shot video of her final moments has been all over the web... instantly making her a martyr.

Neda is a symbol for all women who have become involved in this movement - an image of both the brutality of the regime and the significant role women are playing in fighting it. And there are many more like Neda.

As the protests and clashes with military forces continue, we continue to see images of women on the streets; they wear their scarves and traditional clothing. Some chant, some march, some collect rocks for ammunition against security forces. Riot police have even been seen clubbing women dressed in black robes. Real macho stuff - beating women with clubs.

One 19-year-old woman tells CNN that she's not scared of the security forces - no matter how many times she gets beaten: "When they want to hit me, I say hit. I have been hit so many times and this time it doesn't matter. I just want to help my brothers and sisters." She says women have been out in the streets in larger numbers than men.

One analyst says in the 1979 revolution, the iconic images were those of "bearded men." This time it's young women who are "the vanguards of Iran."

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Iran, can women ultimately make the difference?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran
June 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Can protesters ever prevail in a country like Iran?


An Iranian protester stands next to a burning bus during clashes with Iranian police at a demonstration in Tehran. (PHOTO CREDIT: ALI SAFARI/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iranian protesters aren't packing up and going home - despite warnings from the government that they should do just that.

Earlier today, the elite Revolutionary Guard warned that people who "disturb the peace and stand up to security forces" would be met with a strong response.

And they meant it... as riot police attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired live bullets into the air to break up one rally in Tehran today. Witnesses also said that helicopters hovered overhead; and they noted heavy police presence in other parts of the city.

The country's highest electoral authority - which has supposedly been investigating allegations of voter fraud - acknowledged that there were voting irregularities in 50-electoral districts. Nonetheless, the council insists the problems don't affect the election results.

But opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is vowing to keep up the protests - defying the country's supreme leader.

It's impossible to know for sure how many people have been killed and injured in these protests since the Iranian government is severely restricting international media coverage. Reporters Without Borders says 20 journalists have been arrested in the past week, while many others have been kicked out of the country.

Nonetheless, violent amateur videos and pictures continue to make their way out of Iran though social networking websites.

Here’s my question to you: Can the protesters ever prevail in a country like Iran?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran
June 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Global impact if Iran protests are successful

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After a week of mostly peaceful protests in Iran - it seems like the demonstrators may now be headed for a showdown with the government. Iran's supreme leader is warning of a crackdown on protesters if they continue their massive street rallies.

Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate in Tehran.

The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says opposition leaders will be held accountable for "all the violence, bloodshed and rioting" if they don't stop. He also says the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasn't rigged, and pretty much ruled out any chance for a new vote.

This leaves supporters of the opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi with two options: either pack up and go home or continue to protest... knowing that things could get ugly.

Khamenei insists Iran won't see another revolution, and that the street protests won't have any impact. But, what if he's wrong?

What if the 70-year-old supreme leader isn't in tune with the majority of Iranians - 70-percent of whom are under 30-yearsold and tech savvy? Already - these protests represent the greatest challenge to Iran's Islamic rulers since the 1979 revolution.

The hundreds of thousands of protesters could end up influencing Iran's relations with nations around the globe - from the U-S to Europe to Israel; not to mention what a revolution in Iran could mean for citizens of neighboring countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Here’s my question to you: What would it mean to the rest of the world if the protesters in Iran are successful?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global matters • Iran
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