WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney has a message for the Obama administration: Stop talking to Iran. Period.
"The Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany," Romney said in a speech Monday to the pro-Israel group AIPAC at their national summit in San Diego, according to excerpts provided to CNN.
"The Iranian regime is unalloyed evil, run by people who are at once ruthless and fanatical," Romney said. "Stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It will not. And agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea. Once an outstretched hand is met with a clenched fist, it becomes a symbol of weakness and impotence."
Romney - who has used a series of high-profile speeches to bolster his foreign policy profile in advance of a possible 2012 presidential bid - called on the United States to enact "comprehensive, withering sanctions" coupled with support for "the forces of freedom within Iran." He demanded that a "credible" military threat must remain on the table if Iranian leadership insists on threatening Israel with annihilation.
The former Massachusetts governor also blasted Obama for doing to much to accomodate Palestinian leadership in the pursuit of a peace process, while also placing an undue burden on Israel, "America's most ardent ally in the Middle East."
"The notion that Hamas and violent jihadists are motivated by 'shared interests' and 'common goals' is naïve in the extreme and dangerous to the entire free world," Romney said.