FactCheck.Org, which looks at statements by political candidates and materials published on web sites, says both candidates strayed from the truth when talking about Iran.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Ron Paul falsely claimed the International Atomic Energy Agency “did not find any evidence” that Iran is “on the verge of a [nuclear] weapon.” However, the IAEA reported on Nov. 8 that Iran has carried out activities “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
On “Meet the Press,” Rick Santorum went too far in claiming Obama “basically” said the 2009 reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was “a legitimate one.” Actually, Obama said he could not “state definitively one way or another” whether the election was legitimate, because the U.S. did not have election monitors in Iran.
Paul screwed up his facts on CNN’s “State of the Union” when he said:
At least Iran is in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that’s a step and they do have inspections. The AEIE did not find any evidence that they are on the verge of a weapon.
A database search by Capitol Hill Blue shows there is no “AEIE” involved in nuclear or international issues. In fact, no such organization exists.
We assume Paul meant to refer to the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA. We could find no listing of any organization under the acronym “AEIE” dealing with nuclear issues.
And the fact is, the IAEA found as recently as Nov. 8 that Iran has carried out activities “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” That led the BBC to report: “Correspondents say this is the International Atomic Energy Agency’s toughest report on Iran to date.”
In the Nov. 8 report, IAEA said:
Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information.
Paul has claimed in the past that Iran “poses no threat” to the United States or the region and also said he feels the country should have nuclear weapons.
This position runs counter to other Republican candidates, including Santorum, who claims Obama is weak on Iran.
Said Santorum on “Meet the Press:”
Number one, he didn’t support the pro-democracy movement in Iran in 2009 during the Green Revolution. Almost immediately after the election, I mean, excuse me, like with hours after the, the polls closed, Ahmadinejad announced that he won with 62 percent of the vote. Within a few days, President Obama basically said that that was — election was a legitimate one.
Not true, says FactCheck:
Iran’s presidential election was June 12, 2009, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared victory — triggering protests in Tehran. On June 15, Obama said at a press conference: “We weren’t on the ground, we did not have observers there, we did not have international observers on hand, so I can’t state definitively one way or another what happened with respect to the election. But what I can say is that there appears to be a sense on the part of people who were so hopeful and so engaged and so committed to democracy who now feel betrayed. And I think it’s important that, moving forward, whatever investigations take place are done in a way that is not resulting in bloodshed and is not resulting in people being stifled in expressing their views.”
Obama issued a statement five days later again condemning Iran’s post-election “violent and unjust actions against its own people” and asserting that the U.S. “stands with all who … exercise” the “universal rights to assembly and free speech.” It was one of many such statements.