Romney: Military option in Iran should not be ruled out
July 26th, 2012
09:15 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney: Military option in Iran should not be ruled out

(CNN) - As Mitt Romney gets ready to depart London for Israel this weekend, the presumptive GOP nominee reaffirmed his position Thursday that military force would be an option, though only as a last resort, in trying to prevent Iran from building its suspected nuclear weapons program.

“We will employ every means short of military power,” Romney said in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “We recognize that if all means are exhausted and fail, a military option will have to be considered.”

Despite recent sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, Iran has refused to strike a deal in diplomatic talks this summer that would ease international concerns about its nuclear fuel program. Meanwhile, some analysts have speculated a military strike by Israel could be on the horizon.

Describing a nuclear Iran as “the greatest threat to the world,” Romney said U.S. military intervention “is by far the least attractive option, but it should not be ruled out.”

Romney also told Haaretz the issue is one area where both he and his presidential rival agree: “President Obama has said that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. I feel a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. The term ‘unacceptable’ continues to have a meaning: It suggests that all options will be employed to prevent that outcome.”

In fact, the president has maintained all year that military options would be on the table. In March, Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby group, that "all elements of American power" remain an option to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, including "a military effort to be prepared for any contingency."

At the same time, however, the president made clear that he preferred diplomacy over war both as a principle and in the case of Iran, and he warned that "too much loose talk of war" with Iran only benefits the Iranian government by driving up the price of oil.

While Romney repeatedly declined to comment any further on the president in Thursday’s interview, he didn’t hold back last month in launching criticism of Obama’s handling of Iran.

"This president has communicated in some respects that he might even be more worried about Israel taking direct military action than he is about Iran becoming nuclear," Romney said on CBS News. "That's the opinion of some who watch this."

At the time, Obama's team hit back, saying in a statement that Romney was trying to "score cheap political points by distorting President Obama's record of support for Israel."

– CNN’s Tom Cohen contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Iran • Israel • Mitt Romney
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Romney is going to have a hard time sucking the British in on this deal.

    That's take it one day at a time , and keep an eye on Syria . At least now the Russians are distancing themselves from Assad.

    If he makes a commitment to attack Iran with Israel while Obama is still in office , he is a traitor !

    July 26, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. romneycares less

    Another war! What a deep thinker M.R. is! Great, if your sons and grandchildren are first in line to serve!

    July 26, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  3. mikey970

    send his sons

    July 26, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Darryl

    Romney calling war ? his sons can go fight this one.

    July 26, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Bootstomper

    This guy is really sad. He's been campaigning for president for 8 years and he just can't believe that he can't by the office.

    July 26, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans, like Mitttens and Cheney, who have never fought in a war are sure eager to start a new war.

    July 26, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  7. n

    Watch you back Mr. President, Romney the weasel, is trying to flip-flop-etch-a-sketch on you. beware, he is trying to take your position on handling Iran. Romney is a thief in the night.

    July 26, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. Publius Novus

    The greatest threat to world peace would be a Mitt Romney administration. Round II of the neo-cons, "led" by a man whose only foreign policy experience is with offshore bank accounts.

    July 26, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Johnson

    Romney, McCain and Cheney can't wait to have another war. It is good for business. Just don't send any of the five Romney boys.

    July 26, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, it sounds like Romney and Obama agree on the need to keep Iran from getting the most powerful weapon of mass destruction. The question for me is how crazy will Romney go to keep Iran from getting it? It sounds like he would be willing to have the US jump alone into another war without letting diplomacy work.

    July 26, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. Tyler Stocks

    Typical Bush response, 4 more years of war and getting our country in debt all while killing innocent women and children all in the name of "religion" and "WMDS". Look at Iraq and Afghanistan, what have we done? Nothing.

    July 26, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. dave

    Why mittens? Can iran hit us with missile? No! Can iran hit europe with a missle? maybe! Can iran hit isreal with a missle without risking their own total distruction? Please mittens exsplain to this 62 year old american why we can't seem to mind our own business and let that part of the world take care of their own business for a change!

    July 26, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  13. Anthony... proud tax payer

    How about this..

    1) He raises OUR taxes slightly to pay for it, but he sends all 5 OF HIS SONS.
    or
    2) He and his 1percent buddies PAY FOR IT, and we volunteer OUR SONS.

    Sounds like a pretty good compromise if you ask me.

    July 26, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. PJ

    Regarding Olympics statement by Romney:
    "What Romney answered in that question was unbelievable, its beyond human understanding. Its incomprehensible.
    I'm out of adjectives......". – Charles Krauthammer, Fox News, July 27, 2012.
    Well, that about says it all folks, except I wonder what he thought of Romney revealing the most sacred secret of Britain:
    He met with the head of the MI6.
    Regarding his meeting in Israel:
    Threatening war with Iran before he even arrives to meet with Netanyahu. What can go wrong? Everything.
    Romney is coming off as too desperate for attention and recognition. That is a sure sign of weakness and
    a lack of confidence.
    Foreign policy is obviously "foreign to Romney", and we aren't done yet.
    Poland is next. Keep your fingers crossed folks.

    July 26, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. mcskadittle

    another republican another war, how much money has he invested in defense contractors

    July 26, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. BK

    Yeah don't rule that out; we wouldn't want our economy to stabilize too much before wasting money on another war.

    July 26, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. mike52

    Willard and the Dick Chaney war machine can't wait to go to war to support their wealthy industrial war complex, with do bid contracts.

    July 26, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  18. Banwait

    American's need to ask themselves why their country cares so much about a tiny European settler state called Israel. They are running America's foreign policy in the Middle East.

    If you thought Obama was bad, the thought of Romney is terrifying. War with Iran will be guaranteed.

    July 26, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Just another Republican War

    He we go again – a person who has no real knowledge of a situation other than what he has heard on FOX News and trying to set US Diplomacy. What an Idiot! We had enough of that with George Bush and his two unfunded Wars which is a major part of our debt now. Romney is a person who obviously believes in not sharing information (his taxes, 2002 Olympic Records he destroyed, Bain Capitol) so I thought he would respect Iran's secrecy. You know maybe Iran has Retroactively destroyed all of their Nukes – hey it worked for Romney and Bain!

    July 26, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding China and India)

    Says the chickenhawk who cut and ran to France instead of serving in Vietnam. Willard, once you have a son enlist in the armed services and will be first in, then you may act big and bad. Until then, keep quiet. Willard is already an epic faliure in all things foreign affairs.

    July 26, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    Mitts takes up that he is disconcerted about games organisation and all he can quote are press reports and political in fighting... he has no idea of all the work that s gone on to make the success they will be... next he be disconcerted by the fact that druggies are being caught before they race the winter olympics issues and organisational needs are much less than the summer olympics in terms of events and numbers of participants. london has been the only summer games in recent times wher there were vitually no concern re venue(s) preparations or quality of facilities.
    Already either he or his campaign have shown how poor they are at international diplomacy. the daily telegraph has still got a good reputation in the UK for reliability.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    July 26, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  22. enuff

    I THOUGHT Romney wasn't going to be doing this kind of campaigning to undermine the president while on foreign soil. Must have changed his mind... again.

    July 27, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  23. Bobcat

    Iran was and still is the nucleus of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East...The Iranian Regime has provided military weapons,terrorism training, and financial support to every war and conflict in the Middle East, and continue to do so. Romney is right to support Israel, and to take a tough stand against Iran's Terrorist Regime, which I as a US Military Veteran in the Middle East strongly feel that the US should have attacked Iran, and not Iraq. Obama has made things worse by supporting the Muslum Brotherhood who has ties to Iran, and wants to anialate Israel, while he hates Israel because he is a cradle Muslum, and is a complete fraud claiming to be a Christian who hardly ever takes his children to church.

    July 27, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  24. 2020

    This President has proven time and again he weigh all options, if military option is justified, he has no fear of deploying it. Bin Laden is dead, period.

    Romney yet to disclose who he is, how he makes decision. Till now, Romney remains an unproven mistery.

    July 27, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  25. AgeofInsanity

    So what does this statement actually mean? Realistically nothing, simply more pandering to the right-wing nuts who unfortunately make up too much of the Republican Party.

    This guy should think before sticking his foot in his mouth which he seems to be doing the more in wanders from his handler's script.

    July 27, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
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