Speaking to an audience in Iowa on Wednesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that if she were president, the U.S. would not have an embassy in Iran.
She was responding to news of the British embassy in Iran being overrun by hardline students, who trashed the place and set it on fire, as a reaction to new British sanctions against the country.
The comment might have gone unnoticed, had NBC’s James Novogrod not been present. He noted the gaffe in a post to Twitter and political media quickly picked it up, mostly because there’s a huge problem with her statement: The U.S. does not have an embassy in Iran, and hasn’t since 1980.
The U.S. cut all formal diplomatic ties with the nation amid a 444-day hostage crisis that spiraled out of a complex political clash launched in the 60s, when the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow the nation’s prime minister, installing Reza Shah Pahlavi in power.
The move helped secure U.S. oil interests and prevented Iran from becoming a key Soviet ally, for a time — but it also laid the seeds of a soon-to-emerge Islamic revolution that gave rise to the regime that remains in power today.
Bachmann’s campaign reacted to reports of her comments — which lack a proper transcript — by insisting that she actually hadn’t made a mistake.
“Congresswoman Bachmann is a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence and is fully aware that we do not have an embassy in Iran and have not had one since 1980,” they said in a prepared statement. “She was agreeing with the actions taken by the British to secure their embassy personnel and was speaking in the hypothetical, that if she was President of the United States and if we had an embassy in Iran, she would have taken the same actions as the British.
“Her remarks are being taken out of context, given that she has spoken on this subject several times in the past 24 hours and made it clear that she knew we did not have an Iranian embassy. As she has previously stated, President Obama has taken his eye off of Iran, the most significant security threat in the region, and allowed them the luxury of time to move toward obtaining nuclear weapons. She will never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons that would threaten our ally Israel and the United States.”
And those are just a sampling of the things she has said during the past year.
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Jansing & Co., broadcast Dec. 1, 2011.
With prior reporting by David Edwards.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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