This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 11, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Today was the day that Iran said it would punch the west in a way that would leave it stunned.
And earlier, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marked the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution by announcing to the world that his country is now a, quote, nuclear state. Now, he said Iran has already produced a significant amount of enriched uranium, which is the material that could be used to manufacture a bomb.
Now meanwhile, violence broke out on the streets of Tehran as protesters also marked today's anniversary, and there are even reports that the wife of the opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was brutally beaten during one of the demonstrations.
So after more than a year in office has the Obama administration's so-called smart power approach to diplomacy made us any safer? And what about our allies in Israel?
Joining me now with reaction to the latest threat from Iran is the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
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Ambassador, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Good to be here.
HANNITY: Once again, we've got people on the streets of Tehran, freedom fighters. I've yet to hear the administration speak out on their behalf. Is that a big mistake?
BOLTON: Well, I wouldn't hold my breath for that, either. I think what we see today is Ahmadinejad very confident, very determined, making his message about the Iranian nuclear weapons program clear.
And also, by his control over the streets of Tehran and other major cities, making clear this regime intends to stay in power.
I think Obama is crippled by his desire to negotiate with Iran. He doesn't want to do or say anything that gets in the way of that, and that leaves the demonstrators, who are very powerfully opposed to the regime in Tehran, essentially without any outside help.
HANNITY: All right. The president's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said today that he doesn't really take the threat seriously. He doesn't think they have achieved that level. Your thoughts?
BOLTON: Well, you know, what we know about what's going on inside Iran with the nuclear program is very limited. But what we do know, what people talk about constantly, all the time, is they are getting ever closer to nuclear weapons.
And, you know, we talk so much about what Iran can do and how long it will take. It's as if we actually think we know everything that's going on. There's so much we don't know. I would be worried about it.
We should not believe in a just-in-time nonproliferation policy. Iran, I think, is a lot closer than the White House would like us to believe, both on the nuclear side and on the ballistic missile side.
HANNITY: Well, maybe that explains a thought that I had today and I'd like you to expand on. On the one hand they're announcing to the world that, in fact, they've had new success in uranium enrichment, which means they're that much closer to getting a bomb.
On the other hand, they're saying to Israel — this is the Holocaust denier. Iran has on multiple occasions threatened to wipe Israel off the map. They're saying to Israel, they're warning them against any military move. Do they fear that, because of this pronouncement, that Israel might say, "We don't have any more time to wait"?
BOLTON: Yes. Look, the Israelis recognize that an Iran with nuclear weapons constitutes a real threat to the very existence of the state of Israel. And when Israel has seen that kind of threat before, they have not hesitated to use preemptive military force against Saddam Hussein and his nuclear reactor in 1981. Against North Korean reactor built in Syria in 2007.
So Israel's a very short period of time here I think to decide whether they are going to use military force. The Obama administration's putting enormous pressure on Israel not to use force. I think Ahmadinejad has to be worried about this prospect. That's why in his public statements he's still saying all this nuclear program is for peaceful, civil nuclear power. When it just manifests and it's not. He's trying to buy time internationally.
HANNITY: Obviously, the president's approach, thinking he can negotiate with the Holocaust denier, has failed. The year that he gave him to come to the table and to make concessions to the world, obviously, that's not working.
So is this just more evidence, as if we needed more, that the president is — is weak when it comes to issues of national security? And do we have as a country — does America have anything to really fear from Iran right now? Do we have to worry that, if they get nuclear weapons, they'll use them in the Middle East? What is your greatest fear as it relates to this?
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BOLTON: Well, there's several aspects of this. You're absolutely right. The president's policy of trying to engage Iran has failed.
Secretary of State Clinton said that last week, that the open hand had been rejected by Iran. And it will be rejected, because Iran is not going to be negotiated out of its nuclear weapons program.
What does it mean if Iran gets nuclear weapons? If you don't like Iran's conduct today as the world's largest financer of international terrorism the threat it poses to Israel and American friends in the Arab part of the Middle East.
Imagine how much worse it will be once Iran gets nuclear weapons. They don't actually even need to use the weapons. The threat, the change in the balance of forces in the region that that will represent will have its own enormous impact.
And one final point on that: it's not just Iran with nuclear weapons. If Iran goes nuclear other states in the region, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey maybe others will get nuclear weapons, too. Then you will have a multi-polar nuclear Middle East that is inherently dangerous and unstable.
HANNITY: All right. So here's the president's foreign policy. He'll negotiate with Iran and North Korea without preconditions. They're tiny countries; they're not a serious threat. He closes Gitmo. He ends enhanced interrogations. The Christmas Day bomber incident. The KSM trial in New York.
I'm just wondering, for example, on the Christmas Day bomber, I wonder what orders the president has given Eric Holder in this case? How do we handle the next captured terrorist? Do you only interrogate him for 50 minutes? We think the president will change his course.
BOLTON: Well, you know, on Abdulmutallab, I'd like to know who Eric holder talked to at the White House before he authorized giving the bomber Miranda rights.
But all of those things you've listed are signals of weakness. They are interpreted that way by our both our friends and our adversaries around the world.
It takes a little time for all of this to sink in, but the unmistakable drift of the administration's policy shows weakness, shows an inability to stand up for an American — American interests. And I think countries and terrorists all over the world see America weakening, and that is a very dangerous proposition for us going forward.
HANNITY: Ambassador, very chilling. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
BOLTON: Thank you.
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