Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Tory delegates in Britain Sunday that efforts by the UK and the EU to negotiate with Iran had failed and that he saw no alternative to a pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities in the country.
Bolton said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "pushing out" and "is not receiving adequate push-back" from the West.
"I don't think the use of military force is an attractive option, but I would tell you I don't know what the alternative is.
"Because life is about choices, I think we have to consider the use of military force. I think we have to look at a limited strike against their nuclear facilities."
He added that any strike should be followed by an attempt to remove the "source of the problem", Ahmadinejad.
"If we were to strike Iran it should be accompanied by an effort at regime change ... The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back," he said.
Bolton said that the fact that only partial intelligence about Iran's nuclear activity existed should not be used as an excuse not to act.
"Intelligence can be wrong in more than one direction... Responding after they (nuclear devices) are used is unacceptable."
Bolton also said the UN was "fundamentally irrelevant".
The former envoy criticized Britain's "softly softly" approach to Iran's imprisonment of 15 British sailors in April.
They were released after Ahmadinejad announced he was making a "gift" to the British people. "They [Iran] got no response from the UK or the US. If you were the Iranian leader, what conclusion do you draw?"