At AIPAC, Gingrich says he will "replace" the Iranian regime
(CBS News) - Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was the latest Republican candidate to take a hard line against the Iranians and pledge unfettered support for Israel at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, but Gingrich went a step further and promised to "undermine and replace" the current Iranian regime should he be elected president.
"[I will] undermine and replace the Iranian dictatorship by every available method short of war," Gingrich said via satellite to the pro-Israel lobby.
In addition to pledging regime change in Iran, he said he would do everything in his power to bolster the Israeli's ability to counter and halt a nuclear Iran, which includes providing "all available intelligence to the Israeli government."
Through out AIPAC, talk of possible military action with Iran has been a continuous theme, and Gingrich was no exception. "We will not keep talking while the Iranians keep building," Gingrich said, hitting President Obama for continuing to back a diplomatic path to a nuclear-free Iran.
Gingrich made his comments as the international community continues its attempts to diminish the Iranian's ability to obtain a nuclear weapon. The five members of the United Nations Security Council announced Tuesday that it will enter into discussions with Tehran over its nuclear program, and Iran said nuclear inspectors will be allowed to enter its secret military compound where nuclear work is expected.
At AIPAC, Gingrich dismissed diplomatic talks and said Iran has reached a crucial point in its weapons program.
"The red line is now because the Iranians are now deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons," Gingrich said.
In an interview on Fox News' Hannity program Monday night, Gingrich said the Israeli's shouldn't give the U.S. prior notice should they decide to conduct a military strike against Iran. "If I were the Israelis, I wouldn't give this administration one minute's notice, because someone will leak it," Gingrich told Hannity.
The former House speaker also criticized President Obama for his broad foreign policy in the Middle East and the surrounding region, implying that the president practices a policy of appeasement and softness.
"We need a fundamental reassessment of our entire understanding of the threat of radical Islam; we need an administration with the courage to use the words radical Islam," Gingrich said.
"I will follow an American foreign policy seeking American strength."
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