WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The threat of military action is necessary to get Iran to agree to end its nuclear program, former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.
Speaking on ABC "This Week," Cheney said, "I doubt very much that the diplomacy will be effective if there's not the prospect that, if diplomacy fails, that we will, in fact, resort to military force," he said.
Cheney said the U.S. should maintain sanctions on Iran because he had no confidence the administration could negotiate an agreement with Iran to stop its production of weapons-grade nuclear materials.
Cheney said his "friends in that part of the region" are "very fearful that the whole Iranian exercise is going to go the same way as the Syrian exercise, that is, that there will be bold talk from the administration. But in the final analysis, nothing effective will be done about the Iranian program."
He said the United States should have destroyed the Iranian nuclear reactor to "send a clear signal about proliferation. We would have given substance and meaning to our diplomacy."
Cheney accused the Obama administration of increasing its focus on Asia while "downsizing" the importance of the Middle East to U.S. policy.
The withdrawal of American forces from Iraq an Afghanistan, Cheney said, has caused the region's leaders to "no longer count on us, no longer trust us and our adversaries don't fear us."
The U.S. military presence in the region "was sort of the cornerstone and the basis of the U.S. ability and influence," he said.