Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who extensively funded numerous Republican campaigns in the 2012 election, said at a forum Tuesday that President Obama should fire an atomic weapon into the middle of the desert to send a message to Iran.

"What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there? I want to show you something,'" Adelson said at Yeshiva University. "You pick up your cellphone, and you call somewhere in Nebraska, and you say, ‘okay, let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon goes over -- ballistic missiles -- in the middle of the desert that doesn’t hurt a soul."

Adelson continued: "Then you say, ‘See? The next one is in the middle of Tehran.' So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. ... You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes."

The comments were recorded and first reported by foreign policy blogger Philip Weiss, a self-described "progressive Jewish" journalist.

The Obama administration in recent weeks has expressed hope for reaching an agreement with the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, who has expressed a willingness to negotiate.

Adelson spent at least $98 million on the 2012 election.