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FP: Iran Man

Author: Uri Friedman
February 09, 2012

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Uri Friedman discusses the evolution of Rick Santorum's hard-lined aproach to Iran, drawing from the potential candidate's time at the Ethics and Public Policy Center to his current polemic.

Rick Santorum, who wrested some momentum from Mitt Romney this week by winning primary contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, likes to cast himself as something of an expert on Iran, which has arguably become the top foreign-policy issue in the campaign. From making clear that he'd take care of Iran's nuclear problem if Tehran refuses to do so to warning of jihadists lurking in the Gulf of Mexico--he's not shy about his obsession with the Iranian threat, or his hawkish stance.

In a November radio ad, for example, the Republican presidential contender asserted that he was the only GOP candidate discussing the Iranian threat. "Even Newt Gingrich said 'no one has done more than Santorum to alert America to the dangers posed by Iran,'" the narrator crowed. Santorum's campaign website boasts that he "has recognized the looming threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions for nearly a decade--standing tall against both Republicans and Democrats who have discounted and dismissed the reality that this radical theocracy is intent on destroying Israel and Western civilization." Forget "nearly a decade"--in Iowa, he told voters, "I spent ten years focused like a laser beam when I was in the Senate on the country of Iran."

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