Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Thursday that a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities should be an American decision.
In a video interview with The Washington Post, Kissinger was asked whether he believes the U.S. should join Israel and set “red lines” for Iran, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did in his speech to the UN General Assembly last week.
“There are two ways to look at red lines,” he said. “One is: should we make a public announcement that can be used by Israel or any country as a justification for it going to war? That we cannot do. We cannot subcontract the right to go to war. That is an American decision.”
Kissinger added, “We do need to define for ourselves, when we say that nuclear weapons capability is unacceptable, we need to know for ourselves what we mean by that. What is the definition? I would say, private red line, publicly decide it in terms of tactical necessity.”
During his UN speech, Netanyahu drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran's uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.
Officials in the Obama administration later reiterated that the President would not set “red lines” for Iran.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed solidarity with Netanyahu after the speech, saying, “I join in Prime Minister Netanyahu's call for a Middle East of progress and peace. I join his urgent call to prevent the gravest threat to that vision: a nuclear-armed Iran. The designs of the Iranian regime are a threat to America, Israel and our friends and allies around the world.”
Romney later hinted that his position regarding Iran’s nuclear program is similar to that of Obama.
When asked by reporters, after a phone conversation with Netanyahu, if there was any difference between where he and Netanyahu would draw the red line, Romney said, "We did not go into enough, into the kind of detail, that would define precisely where that red line would be."
"I do not believe that in the final analysis we will have to use military action. I certainly hope we don't have to," said Romney. "I can't take that option off the table – it must be something which is known by the Iranians as a possible tool to be employed to prevent them from becoming nuclear. But I certainly hope that we can prevent any military action from having to be taken."
An instant CNN poll taken after the first debate found that 67% of Americans believe that Romney was the winner. Kissinger has endorsed Romney for the presidency, a fact which he reiterated in The Washington Post interview.