Cheney Endorses Israeli Strike on Iran at GOP Gathering

Republican presidential wannabes and donors respond with laughter, applause as former VP blasts Obama's foreign policy.

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Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney
Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.Credit: AP

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney voiced his support for an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities over the weekend, during his closed-door keynote address at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual spring meeting.

The gathering, attended by several possible Republican presidential candidates, including former Governor Jeb Bush and Governors Chris Christie, Scott Walker and John Kasich, was held at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

In his speech, Cheney ridiculed U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy and dismissed ongoing negotiations between the P5+1 nations and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.

Recalling a conversation he had in 2007 with then-Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, after Israeli reportedly bombed a covert Syrian nuclear facility, Cheney voiced his support for Israeli military action against Iran. The crowd responded to his words with laughter and applause.

"[Yadlin] looked across the table over dinner, and he said, 'Two down, one to go.' I knew exactly what he meant," Cheney said, referring also to the 1981 Israeli strike against an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, according to a recording obtained and published by Mother Jones. "One to go" was understood as a reference to a future Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear project.

Cheney went on to criticize Obama's foreign policy both around the world and the Middle East. "The bottom line is," Cheney said, "the United States' position in [the Middle East] is worse than at any time in my lifetime It's reached the point where Israel and Egypt, [the United Arab] Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan are closer to one another - imagine that! - than any of them is to us"

Last October, Adelson, a high-stakes contributor to the GOP, called on the U.S. to detonate a nuclear device at an unpopulated area of Iran and threaten to wipe out Tehran if the country doesn't back down from developing its nuclear program.

In November, Yadlin approved of the interim deal reached between the P5+1 and Iran, saying that, despite its flaws, "it's better than the alternative of no agreement." Israel must push for final deal that keeps Iran years rather than months away from a possible bomb, he added.

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