Don't rule out attack on Iran, Blair says

Vice-President Dick Cheney's vision of completely redrawing the map of the Middle East following the 9/11 attacks is "not stupid," and is "possible over time," former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says.

In his new book, A Journey, the former Labour Party leader wrote that Cheney wanted a wholesale reorganization of the political map of the Middle East after 9/11. The vice president "would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it -- Hezbollah, Hamas, etc," Blair wrote.

On ABC's This Week Sunday, host Christiane Amanpour asked Blair if Cheney "would have gone through all that lot."

"Dick was always absolutely hard-line on these things," Blair replied. "I mean, I think he would openly avow this. His worldview was that the world had to be remade after September the 11th."

Blair added, "But you can't dismiss that Cheney view and say, well, that's just stupid. It's ... it's not. It may require amendment."

"Is it possible?" Amanpour asked.

"It's possible over time, with the right combination of hard and soft power, I think, to get to the point where nations that we regard or did regard as threats become allies. But that is not always going to have a hard power solution to it," Blair said.

Blair also suggested that preemptive military action against another country may be necessary. He said all military options should be on the table when it comes to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"It is a problem," Blair said. "I don't know. You don't know. You're making a calculation of risk. When you're in the hot seat of decision making you have to decide. Maybe if they got them, they would never use them. But I don't think, if I was a leader today, and certainly, this is the view I took then, I don't think I would take the risk."

"So what would you do?" Amanpour wondered.

"I would tell them they can't have it and if necessary they will be confronted with stronger sanctions and diplomacy. But if that fails, I'm not taking any option off the table," said Blair.

"So you see a military possibility against Iran?" the ABC host asked.

"I don't want to see it," Blair replied.

"But you're saying it has to happen," Amanpour pressed.

"I don't want to see it but I'm saying you cannot exclude it because the primary objective has got to be to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon," said Blair.

This video is from ABC's This Week, broadcast Sept. 5, 2010.