Cheney still talking about war and Iran

At an event Tuesday night, the former vice president spoke of seeing "a giant conspiracy" against U.S. action.

Published May 13, 2009 1:55PM (EDT)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney may have been office for months now, but that doesn't mean he's not still very opinionated on the subject of Iran, and U.S. policy towards the country. Tuesday night, after a debate in New York City in which his daughter Liz participated, he made his feelings on the subject clear.

"We fail to recognize the fact that we're alone out there in terms of trying to achieve the objective of forcing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons," Cheney said at a dinner following the debate, according to Politico's Ben Smith.

The former vice president said he believes Iran is stalling for time, and that European countries are aiding it by "restrain[ing] the U.S." Those nations, he said, "are willing to live with a nuclear-armed Iran."

"Everybody's in a giant conspiracy to achieve a different objective than the one we want to achieve," Cheney said.

In this, "everybody" isn't just restricted to the nations of Europe and the Obama administration, Cheney's most frequent target of late. The former vice president is said to have lost a battle within the Bush administration over the direction of Iran policy, and under Bush there were some initial -- if small, and hesitant -- diplomatic efforts, rather than the tougher stance Cheney advocates.

Liz Cheney, though, took a position similar to her father's, Smith reports. ""If [Iranian leaders] believe the threat of military force is on the table that's frankly the only thing I've seen that convinces them they'd better get serious about sanctions," she said.

Former under secretary of State Nicholas Burns, once the country's highest-ranking career diplomat, was on the other side of the debate. He told Liz Cheney that her position would give the Obama administration just "one option -- and that is war."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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