Rick Santorum was against bombing Iran... Then he ran for president

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Left: Rick Santorum calls Reza Pahlavi an "enthusiastic advocate of the principles of freedom"

During a New Year's Day appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press," former Pennsylvania Republican Senator and come-from-behind GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum threatened to attack Iran if he becomes President.

"I would be working openly with the state of Israel and I would be saying to the Iranians, you either open up those facilities, you begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors or we will degrade those facilities through air strikes – and make it very public that we are doing that," Santorum told "Meet The Press" host David Gregory. The candidate went on to promise that under his administration, Iranian nuclear scientists “will be treated as an enemy combatant, like an Al Qaida member.”

Santorum's belligerent rhetoric on the campaign trail presents a stark contrast to statements he made when he served in the Senate. In September 2006, Santorum hosted Reza Pahlavi (more on him later), the son of deposed Iranian monarch Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, for a meeting with his congressional colleagues. Pahlavi reportedly urged his audience to support a supposedly democratic movement inside Iran. He then emphasized that "the option of war must be taken off the table."

According to a Yahoo News report on the event posted on Pahlavi's personal website:

Agreeing that war was not an option, Senator Santorum said, of Reza Pahlavi: "He is a leading and enthusiastic advocate of the principals [sic] of freedom, democracy and human rights for his countrymen;" adding that "Reza Pahlavi has upheld the honor of his country in a time of upheaval and darkness."

So Santorum was against going to war with Iran before he was for it. And he has yet to offer an explanation for his flip-flop.

There is at least one element of Santorum's Middle East policy that has remained consistent over the years: He still loves the monarchist Pahlavi regime. This is the autocracy that the US installed through a CIA-engineered coup in 1953, and which subsequently plundered the wealth of Iran while employing a fearsome apparatus of secret police, torture chambers, and gulags to crush its political opposition. Either Santorum has a very strange concept of "the principles of freedom" or he is ignorant of the history that still haunts Iran.

During a GOP presidential debate this August, when Texas Rep. Ron Paul reminded Santorum that the United States has been meddling in Iranian affairs since 1953, and that its actions have only produced blowback, Santorum responded by claiming the Iranian people were "free for a long time" before 1979:

"I don’t apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time and now they’re under a mullacracy that tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all — all throughout their society and it’s the greatest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world."

Leaving aside Santorum's own views on gay rights -- he once likened homosexuality to "man-on-dog" sex -- his rhetoric on Iran is a frothy mix of the contradictory and outright bizarre. And now that he has emerged at the front of the Republican pack, he might actually have to answer for it.

Comments

Yet another spineless US politician- whats new! US .....remember Vietnam, you are not infalable! . When will the US and Israel realise, nations WONT be bullied by spineless, double standards of these two bully boy states, who have NO morale backbone or integrity - as long as they can reign suppreme! Their day will come! Good luck Iran

Santorum is probably the dumbest pol since Bush Jr.

Santorum is running on a pro-war ticket with 80% of the US population advocating ending all wars and bringing troops home from around the world.

As usual, only one GOP candidate is running on this platform: Ron Paul.

Not even the Democrats are as anti-war, pro-peace as Dr. Paul.

This is utterly shocking. How can you compare freedom which Iran did have before 1979, to the digusting oppression and dictatorship the Iranian people have suffered eveyday since the revolution. How easily you ignore where Khomeni and his terror came from and who funded their return to Iran. All you do is focus on the Shah and the 'CIA' and pass blame on them. Believe me, Hitler was a dictator, not the Shah. You can not compare such evil, to a leader who was simply too weak and surrounded himself by the wrong advisors. I have family who now suffer everyday in Iran, family who whilst under Shah, lived a liberal peaceful life. Why don't you ask the Persian people what happend and ask them what they want now! Because after all is it not the Persian people and their say that matters the most...

The only thing utterly shocking is your ridiculous comment. To claim that the Shah was not a dictator is an insult to my uncle who suffered at the hands of his personal guard, SAVAK (he criticized Shah for his lavish lifestyle) and there are many Iranians expatriates who were also victims of the Shah's brutality. And they would agree with me that only a fool will say that the Shah is not a dictator.

Although I only speak for myself, I would like to apologize to the Iranian people, and people all over the world who are suffering under U.S. rule. Many Americans have the cognizance to see corruption all around them, but millions more still believe the lies their 6th grade teacher told them in the public/private school system. Superbowl Sunday is unfortunately what they care about, save for those who support Ron Paul. I hope to increase my role to achieve peace, freedom and prosperity in America so that we can have peaceful trade and respectful relations with all nations. I'm only one little guy, but I don't want to tell God that I did nothing to stop psychopathic social engineers from enslaving and murdering people across this planet. Have hope and keep going, resist peacefully, for we are all going to pass on regardless. Let it not be said that we did nothing to stop tyranny in all its forms, especially over the mind of man.

You are getting a big big conclusion from a very very small , vague part from Rick's speech which is basically hailing Reza Pahlavi as an activists and there's no direct comment from him about war against Iran ! And then you make this conclusion then title of this article ?

The part you are writing about Shah regime repression on revolution , I agree with most parts except that Reza Pahlavi was a little kid at that time and you cannot blame him for what his father and CIA were doing in Iran . Please before you publish a book yourself , read couple of more history books .

Brilliant as always. Best line; "... his rhetoric on Iran is a frothy mix of the contradictory and outright bizarre." Keep up the great work Max, eagerly awaiting your next book.

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