Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romney to Back Israel\'s Right to Strike Iran, Aide Says


JERUSALEM - In a speech here Sunday evening, Mitt Romney plans to assert that he respects Israel's right to take pre-emptive action against Iran to prevent the country from developing nuclear capabilities that could be used for a bomb.

In a briefing with reporters before the speech, Dan Senor, a senior Romney foreign policy advisor who helped orchestrate Mr. Romney's stop here, said that Mr. Romney would express - several times - his belief that it is “unacceptable” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability, including his view that Israel reserves the right to take action against Iran.

“If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision,” Mr. Senor said.

Previewing Mr. Romney's remarks, Mr. Senor explained: “It is not enough just to stop Iran from developing a nuclear program. The capability, even if that capabi lity is short of weaponization, is a pathway to weaponization, and the capability gives Iran the power it needs to wreak havoc in the region and around the world.”

At the annual Herzliya Conference in 2007, Mr. Romney took a strong stance against Iran, arguing that the country's nuclear capabilities must, can, and will be stopped. But the message coming out of Mr. Romney's campaign in advance of his speech represents a ratcheting up of his previous position on Iran.

In excerpts released by his campaign, Mr. Romney plans to stress the importance of protecting Israel's right to defend itself against Iran.

“But today, the regime in Iran is five years closer to developing nuclear weapons capability,” Mr. Romney's prepared remarks say. “Preventing that outcome must be our highest national security priority.”