Ex-president Carter says he would've beaten Reagan if he was 'more manly' against Iran

Carter told CNBC that his administration could have secured another term in office if he had responded more forcefully to the Iran hostage crisis.

October 1, 2014 21:29
1 minute read.
Jimmy Carter

Former US president Jimmy Carter. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Jimmy Carter, the former US president, told American television on Wednesday that he would’ve beaten his eventual successor, Ronald Reagan, if he had been “more manly” and bombed Iran.

To mark the occasion of his 90th birthday, Carter told CNBC that his administration could have secured another term in office if he had responded more forcefully to the Iran hostage crisis.

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Shortly after the rise of Khomeini in November 1979, young Islamist Iranian students overran the US embassy in Tehran, where they held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Carter, who was president at the time, severed ties with the Islamic Republic.

"I could've been re-elected if I'd taken military action against Iran, shown that I was strong and resolute and, um, manly and so forth," Carter told CNBC.

The 39th president, who brokered the historic Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, defended his administration's policy toward Iran.

"I could have wiped Iran off the map with the weapons that we had, but in the process a lot of innocent people would have been killed, probably including the hostages and so I stood up against all that," he said.

The Iran hostage crisis and the bad economy conspired to sink Carter's re-election chances in 1980. The Georgia Democrat was trounced by Reagan.

Lamenting his loss, Carter said that his re-election would have boded well for the propsects of peace in the Middle East since "my successors were not very interested in the Mid East peace process."

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