Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Speaking in Jerusalem, Romney Delivers Defense of Israel


JERUSALEM -Speaking before a crowd full of donors and supporters here on the holiday of Tisha B'av, Mitt Romney asserted his belief that Israel should be able to protect itself against the threat of a nuclear Iran.

“We recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you,” he said, speaking as the sun set on Jerusalem's Old City.

Though Mr. Romney laid out no detail policy plans, the strongest portion of his speech dealt with the challenges he believes the United States and Israel face in preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capabilities.

“We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions,” Mr. Romney said. “We should stand with all who would join our effort to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran - and that includes Iranian dissidents. Don't erase from your memory the scenes from three years ago, when that regime brought to death its own people as they rose up.”

He added that preventing Iran from gaining such nuclear capabilities “must be our highest national security priority.”

In his remarks, Mr. Romney's appeared to step back from comments a senor aide made prior to the speech.

Earlier in the day, Dan Senor, a senior Romney foreign policy adviser who helped orchestrate Mr. Romney's visit here, told reporters that Mr. Romney would express - several times - that it was “unacceptable” for Iran to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons and his view that Israel does have 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.

A short time later however, the Romney campaign issued a statement that seemed to slightly soften its statement.

“Governor Romney believes we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is his fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so,” Mr. Senor said in an e-mail statement released by the campaign. “In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. Governor Romney recognizes Israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with it.”

Then, in an interview on CBS' “Face the Nation,” Mr. Romney said: “I'll use my own words and that is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself and we stand with Israel.”

“We're two nations that come together in peace and that want to see Iran being dissuaded from its nuclear folly,” he said.

“Because I'm on foreign soil,” Mr. Romney said, “I don't want to be creating new foreign policy for my country or in any way to distance myself from the foreign policy of our nation, but we respect the right of a nation to defend itsel f.”