California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter told C-SPAN’s Washington Journal that a military conflict with Iran regarding their nuclear program may be inevitable and that the U.S. should hit them with tactical nuclear weapons.
“I think people like to toss around the fact that we have to stop them in some way from giving them this nuclear capability. I think it’s inevitable. If you hit Iran, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and set them back a decade or two or three. That is what you do with a massive aerial bombardment campaign,” Hunter said.
Hunter made the remarks to C-SPAN in the context of a broader discussion about a recent U.N.-brokered deal involving the U.S., Iran and other members of the international community. The agreement, worked on by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, is identified as a “Joint Plan of Action,” Geneva, Nov. 24.
The Joint Plan of Action will loosen the economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for an Iranian pledge to halt nuclear weapons development. The deal does allow Iran to develop nuclear power – just not nuclear weapons.
“The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons,” the agreement reads.
When asked by the C-SPAN reporter, Hunter said that Congress should vote on sanctions against Iran as soon as possible without waiting for Kerry to testify on the Hill on the issue.
Kerry is slated to testify next week.
The recent U.S.-Iran agreement has inspired controversy as some have praised the move as substantive progress toward greater peace and stability -- and others have sharply criticized the deal on the grounds that Iran cannot be trusted to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Hunter’s reference to tactical nuclear weapons came on the heels of a comment about lessons learned from recent U.S. ground wars.
“I think a ground war with Iran with American boots on the ground would be a horrible thing. After Iraq and Afghanistan, America knows its limitations in that area,” he said.
Hunter’s office did not respond by press time to questions about why the Congressman made these remarks.