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Special Report

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on Iran

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from Jan. 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday condemned in sharp language the leader of Iran. His suspected efforts to develop nuclear weapons and his threats against Israel and the secretary suggested that the U.S. military has the resources to do something about it if it becomes necessary. FOX News Pentagon correspondent Bret Baier reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In an exclusive interview with FOX News, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld weighed in on the first time for Iran’s decision to restart its nuclear program coupled with recent comments by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he wants its recall wiped off the map. Rumsfeld said history is full of examples of nations ignoring threats to their peril.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Lenin said certain things and wrote certain things and people didn’t believe it. Adolf Hitler wrote things and people didn’t believe it. Here you have a person from an important country, a big country, with an intelligent and educated population that’s acquiring nuclear weapons, seems to be on a path to do that saying those things. It has to be something that concerns the world. And obviously it does.

BAIER: While emphasizing repeatedly that world powers are trying to use diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Rumsfeld says Iran cannot be taken lightly and extremely dangerous on a number of fronts.

RUMSFELD: They are the sponsors of terrorist, they are one of the principal sponsors of Hezbollah and Hamas and the terrorist organizations.

BAIER: Perhaps senior Al Qaeda are still being harbored inside that country.

RUMSFELD: Yes, indeed.

BAIER: Today in Jerusalem, Israel’s acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made it clear where its real is drawing the line.

EHUD OLMERT, ACTING ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, (through translator): The State of Israel recall cannot allow anyone with hostile intentions against us to control destructive weapons that threaten our existence.

BAIER: What about a U.S. military option?

(On camera): Fighting a war in Iraq, fighting in a war in Afghanistan. Is the military positioned, prepared, to act if diplomacy fails?

RUMSFELD: We have a force sizing construct that we feel good about. We have military strategy that we feel good about. We have clearly the most capable military on the face of the earth. The best trained, the best led. It’s battle hardened. It’s been in two wars in the last five years. As is the responsibility of this department, we engage in the kinds of contingency planning that’s appropriate for the department. But that’s a matter that’s on the diplomatic path, which it should be, and the president’s working it hard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAIER (on camera): When asked whether the world can afford to let Iran get a nuclear bomb, Secretary Rumsfeld said time will tell. He also pointed out that Iran has an intelligent population that unlike North Korea is in touch with the rest of the world and very aware what the international community thinks about it.

Watch "Special Report With Brit Hume" weeknights at 6 p.m. EST.

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