Iowa Debate: Presidential hopefuls debate Iran


Republican presidential candidates former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney chat before a debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party at Oakland University on Nov. 9, 2011, in Rochester, Mich.


Scott Olson

US policy towards Iran was a hot topic during the GOP debate in Iowa on Thursday, as Republican presidential candidates engaged in sharp exchanges about whether the United States should attack the country.

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and Texas Representative Ron Paul fought over Iran's nuclear ambitions, The New American reported

Paul believes that there is no evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons, and he said that Bachmann's suggestions that Iran is bent on destroying the United States was "absurd."

Paul, a libertarian GOP hopeful, believes that terrorists aim to harm the US because it invades their countries, Neon Tommy reported.

Bachmann also scoffed at Paul's suggestion that the US work with Iran to put an end to its nuclear ambitions.

Paul is the only GOP candidate who believes military action or intervention in Iran would be counterproductive.

Former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney also mocked President Barack Obama during the debate over his handling of the downed US drone in Iran.

"This is a president that the spy drone being brought down, he says pretty please? Foreign policy based on pretty please? You have to be kidding," Romney said.

His comment was a reference to Obama's recent statement that the US had asked Iran to return a drone, a decision weighed heavily by military leaders. However, as NPR wrote:

In any event, can Romney and the other candidates really attack Obama as afraid to use force, after the killing of bin Laden and so many other operations? I guess anything is possible in the world of Republican politics. 

Former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who squared off at St. Anselm College on Monday, also believed that Iran is the number one threat to stability in the Middle East.