During his failed re-election bid, Santorum delivered a speech in which he outlined his ideas about the war against “Islamic fascism,” and in it this was his assessment of the Iranian leadership’s goals:

He [Ahmadinejad] has told us over and over again that he believes in the imminent arrival of the Shi’ite messiah, the so-called 12th Imam, who Shi’ites believe will return at the end time.

What will cause this arrival? According to Ahmadinejad, a victory of extremist Islam over the infidels and crusaders. That would be us. He is working to hasten that final confrontation, and he, along with other Iranian leaders, openly declare their first step is to remove Israel from the face of the earth, then to defeat the United States.

They have also made it quite clear that Iran intends to use atomic bombs in this confrontation. His predecessor, President Khatami, has made similar statements [bold mine-DL]. In other words, the spokesmen for the central piece of the Islamic fascist mosaic are working to bring about the end of the free world as fast as they possibly can, in order to subject mankind to the slavery of a new Caliphate.

It’s these last claims about using nuclear weapons that I want to discuss. There’s no evidence supporting any of that. There’s also no way that Iran could “bring about the end of the free world” even if the regime wanted to try. When Khatami was in office, he flatly denied that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. Khatami went beyond that to reject the use of nuclear weapons all together:

“We cannot go and seek a nuclear program because of our religious faith,” said mr. Khatami. “I said, in one of my speeches to the leaders, that we cannot have nuclear weapons because in Islamic wars, in the rules of warfare, there are so many recommendations for the fair treatment of the enemy.”

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“The Islam that I know does not allow the use of nuclear weapons,” said Mr. Khatemi. “We cannot use and therefore we cannot go and manufacture. We have the right for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

Santorum just made these things up about Khatami, and the other claim has no more evidence behind it. A few weeks ago, Bachmann made similar claims, which Robert Merry called “one of the most blatantly false statements by a presidential candidate since the advent of the nuclear age.” Santorum has been saying things like this for years, and he has rarely been challenged on it.

P.S. There’s something else from Santorum’s 2006 speech that I should mention. He argued that it was vitally important to use accurate language in describing foreign enemies, but he said this in defense of the nonsense phrase “Islamic fascism.” Santorum makes a valid point that the wrong use of words creates confusion and hampers our ability to assess threats, but he misses that he is one of the worst offenders in this regard.