Kissinger: Don’t Exclude Military Action Against Iran if Negotiations Fail

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, in a wide-ranging discussion of foreign-policy issues, says he is disturbed at the possibility that Iran will develop nuclear weapons know-how if current negotiations to stem Tehran’s nuclear program fail. In fact, he says, Iran’s program is more worrisome than the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

He says that if Iran secures nuclear weapons, nonproliferation may cease to be a “meaningful policy, and then we live in a world of multiple nuclear centers. And then we’d have to ask ourselves what the world would look like if the [terrorist] bombs in London [on July 7] had been nuclear and 100,000 people had been killed.” Asked if he favored military action against Iran if diplomacy failed, he says, “I’m not recommending it but, on the other hand, it is a grave step to tolerate a world of multiple nuclear weapons centers without restraint. I’m not recommending military action, but I’m recommending not excluding it.”

Kissinger was interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman, consulting editor of, on July 14, 2005.