Santorum says he would threaten Iran with airstrikes over nuclear ambitions

Rick Santorum would openly threaten Iran with airstrikes in retaliation for its nuclear ambitions, he said Sunday.

"The President of the United States turned his back on" the pro-Democracy movement in Iran, Santorum said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The weekend ahead of the first 2012 vote in Iowa, Santorum offered some of his harshest criticism of the administration's handling of a potential nuclear Iran. Santorum has discussed the issue as a mainstays during debates when it comes to his foreign policy platform.

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Santorum said President Obama failed to intervene following the 2009 presidential election in Iran, when the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was widely disputed. Santorum called it an "illegitimate election."

"I understand why the president would understand someone announcing the minute after the polls close that he won, I mean he comes from Chicago," Santorum said.

He went on to criticize Obama for joining "the radicals" in Egypt rather than standing with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was forcibly ousted during the Egyptian revolution known as "Arab spring."

Elections following the popular rebellion resulted in success for members of the Democratic Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood being elected to leadership positions.

When pressed on his opposition to the results of the Egyptian election, Santorum pushed back. 

"The Muslim Brotherhood is not about Democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood are Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood are going to impose Sharia law," he said.

Santorum said as President Santorum, he has a five point plan for addressing unrest in the Middle East and specifically the threat of a nuclear Iran. 

The plan includes: funding pro-Democracy movement; using or increasing covert activity to set back nuclear program; treating any foreign scientist helping Iran in that program as a foreign combatant "like an al-Qaeda member"; working openly with Israel and drawing a hard line that includes the threat of air strikes by the U.S.


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