Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Thursday the United States should strike Iran's nuclear operations as part of any military effort against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he is "kind of Iran's poodle mainly in that part of the world."
"I don't think there's a good answer by talking," Woolsey, 75, who served former President Bill Clinton, told Jake Tapper on CNN, regarding President Donald Trump's options in the recent chemical attack. "Assad does not care what we do.
"Russia is not going to change its support — and Iran is certainly not going to change its support of Assad.
"It would be really very important to plan — whether they carry it out or not is another matter — but to plan very seriously for a major military strike against the parts of the Iranian infrastructure that are headed toward nuclear weapons," Woolsey said.
He slammed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as "worse than worthless."
"If our forces do use air power against Iran, it would be possible to knock out some of the Syrian facilities, too," he said.
Woolsey, a Navy undersecretary under former President Jimmy Carter, added "we are down to a situation where we will see a nuclear Iran, I think very shortly, because of bad decisions that have been made in the past, unless we do something.
"This at least gives us an opportunity to do something that is tied to the Syrian events, and that would be to use force against the Iranian nuclear program."
He said diplomacy, or even involving the United Nations, is not going to be effective — and that is why military action is necessary.
"There's nothing about this situation that I find at all comfortable, whether it is using force or trying to get out of it by talking diplomatically," he told Tapper.
"But I see no way in which arguing with Russians, talking even to Iranians, getting coalitions together — people are just not going to respond effectively in the United Nations or elsewhere to that kind of a complaint, even as terrible as what the Syrians did was.
"It is not going to do any good.
"If we want to change the nature of the threat to us in that part of the world, what we have to do is take out the Iranian nuclear program — if we can without hitting any Russian units — and some of the Syrian capability."
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