Romney would respect an Israeli strike on Iran without U.S. sign-off: aide
JERUSALEM — U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would support an Israeli decision to use military force to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, a senior aide said on Sunday.
Romney met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on the second leg of a trip show display his foreign policy credentials in his race to unseat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election.
Shortly before talks with Netanyahu, Romney’s senior national security aide, Dan Senor, told reporters travelling with the candidate:
“If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision.”
The comment seemed to put Romney at odds with Obama’s efforts to press Israel to avoid any preemptive strike before tough Western economic sanctions against Iran run their course.
According to excepts of a speech Romney was to deliver on Sunday evening, the former Massachusetts governor planned to say that an aggressive approach to Tehran was needed to protect against a threat to the very existence of Israel, the closest U.S. ally in the turbulent Middle East.
“When Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust or speak of wiping this nation off the map, only the naJive – or worse – will dismiss it as an excess of rhetoric,” the text of the speech included.
“Make no mistake: the ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defences. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way.”
“My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country,” the text said.