By Jonathan Easley - 01/16/12 05:00 PM EST
Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) said Iran must be stopped from obtaining even one nuclear warhead because Israel is a “one-bomb country.”
Southerland was making the case for why the United States must stand by Israel amid escalating tensions with Iran and worries about that country’s nuclear program. Many U.S. lawmakers believe Iran’s nuclear ambitions are aimed at building a bomb that could be used against Israel.
“I would have to say to (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad that we will support our ally,” Southerland said in an interview with Florida political website The Shark Tank.
Southerland dismissed the notion that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were energy-related, as the country maintains, and said Ahmadinejad was not merely posturing in his frequent threats against the Israelis.
“You don’t play with that,” Southerland said. “For Ahmadinejad to make the irresponsible comments that he’s made, you have to take him seriously. And if history has taught us nothing, at least it has taught us that individuals with unlimited power to create incredible dangers, if not checked, if not checked by good — evil will continue to push, and I think this is an example.”
Tensions between Iran and the West have boiled over in recent weeks, as Iran threatened to cut off oil supplies from the Persian Gulf if the United States widens economic sanctions against the country.
A top Iranian nuclear scientist was killed last week in a brazen daylight assassination operation. Iran accused the United States and Israel of collaborating in the assassination. The United States denied involvement, and Israel has not commented.