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Gingrich, McCain Criticize Obama Administration for Iran Policy

By Susan Decker and Ladane Nasseri
October 16, 2011 10:03 AM EDT

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican presidential candidate, said President Barack Obama is “absolutely clueless” in his dealings with the Iranian government.

“Our goal should be the replacement of the Iranian dictatorship,” Gingrich said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “We have done nothing of consequence to systematically undermine the regime.”

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who lost the 2008 presidential election to Democrat Obama, also criticized the administration’s handling of what McCain called “a rogue nation.”

The administration’s “engagement with Iran has clearly been a failure,” McCain said on CNN.

The U.S. has accused Iran of sponsoring a plot to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the Washington, Adel Al-Jubeir. Two men were charged with conspiracy to kill the diplomat in a plot that U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder said was “directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the claims in a Tehran meeting today. “Each day they try to campaign against Iran,” Ahmadinejad said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Both Gingrich and McCain said Obama should have done more when students protested on the streets of Tehran. McCain called for “severe sanctions” and said the U.S. should engage in “covert activity” to undermine the current Iranian government.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net; Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net; Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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