Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a small gathering of pro-Israel American leaders Tuesday that an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities “could happen in a matter of months.”
“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,” the Republican told the Spring National Leadership Meeting of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) at the Willard Hotel. “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. And that could happen sooner rather than later — that could happen in a matter of months.”
Cruz, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip to the Jewish state in May, didn’t say how he came to believe an Israeli strike might happen within a matter of months. But Cruz told the assembled JINSA leaders that he believes the Obama administration, which is currently engaged in negotiations with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, has shirked its responsibility in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program and is not taken seriously by Iranian leadership.
“In my view, here is what a responsible president would do,” Cruz, who is believed to be considering a 2016 presidential run, said. “A responsible president would stand up on the world stage and say, ‘Let me be clear: Under no circumstances will the nation of Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability. We will impose crippling sanctions but they will either stop or we will stop them using all available means, including if necessary direct military force.'”
“In my view, a policy of weakness and appeasement only increases the chance of military conflict,” he said.
Cruz said he believes that preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power should be a responsibility shouldered by the United States, but in the absence of U.S. leadership, he takes comfort that Israel will act to defend itself.
“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,” he said, “but I do take some comfort that if this administration will not defend our interests, at the very least Israel will defend her interests.”
Over the last several years, there have been many predictions by U.S. political and opinion leaders of an imminent Israeli air attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. So far, none of those predictions have proven accurate.