Prague - Both leading candidates for the presidential election to be held in January 2013, former prime ministers Jan Fischer and Milos Zeman, share a quite hardline stance on the issue of Iran's nuclear program.
On Tuesday, Fischer and Zeman took part in a debate on foreign policy organized by the International Affairs Association (AMO).
Two other candidates, Premysl Sobotka and Jiri Dienstbier, also participated in the debate. Sobotka is nominated as presidential candidate by the ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS), Dienstbier by the opposition Social Democratic Party (CSSD).
The debate took place amid the US presidential elections, and the participants were asked about their preferences. While Sobotka said he rooted for Governor Romney, the other three candidates preferred President Obama.
Both leading candidates also spoke about the issue of Iran's nuclear program, which is one of the biggest challenges waiting for newly reelected President Obama.
"Iran constitutes a threat and security risk. There is one aspect that is not discussed, it can encourage other countries in the Arab region, for example Egypt. That can become the fuse. Nonetheless I believe that diplomatic and political solutions have not been exhausted. A military solution is the last resort and needs a plan B, which was missing for example in the case of Libya," said Jan Fischer, who served as caretaker prime minister between 2009 and 2010.
His rival Zeman's words on Iran were even more blunt.
"I belong to ultra-hawks, and I have for a long time. Especially in the hands of religious madmen, even one nuclear missile as a doomsday weapon may be very dangerous. I am in favor of trying all possibilities of a diplomatic solution, but if it turns out that Iran's nuclear weapon has reached the final phase of development, that Iran refuses international cooperation, then I would not exclude a preventive military strike," said Milos Zeman, who served as Social Democrat prime minister between 1998 and 2002. Eventually, Zeman left the party and formed its own Party of Civic Rights - Zemanovci, which nominated him as presidential candidate.