GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich said he would “wage real cyber warfare” to bring about a regime change in Iran, and would be “prepared to use military force” to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Gingrich made the comments in an hourlong interview with the Manchester, N.H., Union Leader’s editorial board on Monday.
“If we get to a point where the military believes that they are truly on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, I would be prepared to use military force,” Gingrich said.
“I think our goal should be to replace the regime,” he added. “I think if you just take out the plants and the dictatorship stays there, the plants come back.”
The former House Speaker said he would “sadly agree to military action” as a last resort, but would first promote covert activities, including cyber warfare, to bring down the regime.
“We could wage real cyber warfare against Iran and probably be remarkably effective at closing it down,” Gingrich said.
He would also set up a fund to support dissident groups in the country, repeal restrictions on U.S. spies, cut off Iran’s gasoline supply, and “basically wage economic warfare against them until the regime broke.”
“If we get to a point where the military believes that they are truly on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, I would be prepared to use military force,” Gingrich said. “But I would try to do everything I could to disrupt and break the regime.”
On Monday, President Obama signed an executive order imposing a new set of sanctions against companies that invest in or contribute to the development of Iran’s oil and gas industry. The move was in response to an International Atomic Energy Agency report that said Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapon.
The order designated the Iranian banking regime as one that might be aiding and abetting terrorists. The administration believes Iran’s lucrative petrochemical industry is being used to further the country’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.