Former President Jimmy Carter says in 1980, he could have taken action that would have eliminated any nuclear threats from Iran today. In fact, he says he could have gotten rid of Iran altogether.
And in the CNBC Meets interview, Carter says the fact that he didn’t do so cost him the election to Ronald Reagan.
“I could’ve been reelected if I’d taken military action against Iran, shown that I was strong and resolute and manly and so forth,” he said.
How strong and how manly?
“I could have wiped Iran off the map with the weapons that we had, but in the process a lot of innocent people would have been killed, probably including the hostages, and so I stood up against all that, all that advice, and then eventually my prayers were answered and every hostage came home safe and free,” Carter said. “And so I think I made the right decision in retrospect, but it was not easy at the time.”
The hostage crisis began in 1979 when Iranians took over the U.S. Embassy in Iran and held 52 Americans captive. Even when pressure mounted, Carter didn’t take military action, other than one failed rescue attempt, and the hostages were released shortly after Reagan took the oath of office in 1981.
When asked if he thought Americans now think he made the right decision, Carter says yes.
“I think increasingly they have, as more facts are known and as people look back on those times,” he said. “But there’s still a strong inclination in our country to take military action when I think it’s not necessary.“
h/t: The Hill