Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed Republican presidential hopeful and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for The Atlantic and argued with him over which entity is the bigger threat — Iran or the terrorist group ISIS.
Christie has the view that Iran is a bigger threat than the US based on his belief that the country is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon.
“Iran is a greater threat than ISIS. If you’re prioritizing the threats, which a president has to do, then I think that Iran is a greater threat than ISIS,” he told Goldberg in response to a question about what his first national-security priority would be if he won the presidency.
“I believe Iran is moving toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. I have no proof at this point that ISIS is moving toward obtaining weapons of mass destruction.”
The US and other Western powers recently brokered a deal with Iran, for which President Barack Obama pushed, over the country’s nuclear program. The deal put certain restrictions into place and allows for international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for Western sanctions relief.
Skeptics of the deal believe that Iran might still try to obtain a nuclear weapon despite the accord, but Obama argues that the deal would keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb for at least 10 to 15 years.
After Christie said Iran would be his priority, Goldberg pointed out that the world has a Sunni jihadism problem and that “those AK-47s in Rockefeller Center aren’t going to be wielded by Iranian Shia.”
Here’s how the rest of Goldberg and Christie’s back and forth went:
Goldberg: Iran is going to be doing a lot of things, sending out its uranium, according to the agreement.
Christie: You really believe that?
Goldberg: For a while I think we’re okay, for the next few years. I don’t think we’re okay for a few days with the Sunni jihadist problem.
Christie: I don’t know that I agree.
Goldberg: So what would you do, rip up the nuclear agreement?
Christie: I’ve never said that. My point would be, you have to make a few statements of principle off the bat. The first is that, we’re not going to make any more agreements or have meetings with folks who won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist.