Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson told a crowd at Yeshiva University in New York on Tuesday that the only proper negotiating tactic with Iran would be fire a nuclear missile at the country and threaten to wipe out the entire population of Tehran, the nation's capital.
Adelson, the largest donor to the Republican Party and its affiliated groups, made the comments during a panel discussion hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens and Yeshiva University President Richard Joel. Adelson's remarks were videotaped by Philip Weiss of the news site Mondoweiss:
What are we going to negotiate about? I would say "Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something." … You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, "OK let it go." And so there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever. Then you say, "See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes."
The comments came in response to questions about the recent diplomatic detente between the United States and Iran as the two sides seek an agreement over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program and an end to the economic sanctions imposed on the country.
An overly aggressive U.S. foreign policy stance against Iran has been a driving force behind Adelson's political giving. In the 2012 election Adelson and his family gave more than $100 million to super PACs and other groups supporting Republican candidates. He held high-dollar fundraisers for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and even accompanied Romney when he travelled to Israel during the campaign.
Adelson is also a staunch supporter and major funder of right-wing political parties in Israel, where campaign finance laws allow parties and candidates to accept campaign contributions from foreigners. He has funded the largest circulation newspaper in his effort to provide editorial support for right-wing political efforts.