Santorum wins over AIPAC crowd

AFP , Tuesday 6 Mar 2012

US Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum promises that US will 'tear down' Iranian nuclear facilities

US Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Tuesday criticised President Barack Obama on Iran and called for an ultimatum demanding it stop nuclear production now or the US will "tear down" its facilities.

"I have seen a president who has been reticent. He says he has Israel's back...From everything I've seen he has turned his back on" Israelis, Santorum told a powerful pro-Israel lobby.

"We need to do more than talk," he said, referring to an announcement by the United States and five other powers to resume nuclear negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme at an unspecified date.

There is "a need to set forth an ultimatum," Santorum told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy forum.

"We need to say to the Iranian government, the time is now. You will stop your nuclear production now," he said to roaring applause, stronger than when Obama spoke to the same audience on Sunday.

"You will open up your facilities for inspectors from the United States and other countries so we can certify that those efforts are stopping and being dismantled now," Santorum said.

If "this ultimatum is not met," if they "do not tear down those facilities, we will tear them down ourselves," he said to strong applause.

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