U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party Republican from Texas who is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016, told a Jewish think tank this week that he believes Israel could attack Iran's nuclear facilities within a few months if the Islamic Republic's nuclear program has not been halted by then.
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“In my view, [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei believes there is no credible deterrence from the United States, there’s not realistic risk of significant consequence for moving forward with their nuclear development,” Cruz told a closed national leadership meeting of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs on Tuesday at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., according to The Daily Caller.
“That means, that if they keep going forward, I think if it comes down to it, I have real confidence that the nation of Israel will act to preserve her national security, even if this administration will not act first," he said. "And that could happen sooner rather than later — that could happen in a matter of months.”
Cruz made the comments after discussing the Iranian nuclear program during a long talk with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the senator visited Israel two weeks ago, though it was not clear to what extent Cruz's prediction reflects Netanyahu's position.
Cruz, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Netanyahu was working harder than U.S. President Barack Obama to protect American interests.
“I don’t think Israel should have to act to prevent Iranian nuclear-weapons capability because it is so profoundly in U.S. national security interests that we should act, rather than forcing Israel to act,” said Cruz, “but I do take some comfort that if this administration will not defend our interests, at the very least Israel will defend her interests.”