October 9th, 2012
09:43 PM ET
2 years ago

On Iran, Romney says he sees eye to eye with Netanyahu

(CNN) – Mitt Romney on Tuesday said that he would use the same test to evaluate Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program as would Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN's "The Situation Room," the Republican presidential nominee also defended his proposed U.S. tax model and shed light on how he would handle the civil war in Syria.

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Romney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that there should be "no daylight between the United States and Israel," and emphasized that military action against Iran would not be imminent.

"We share values, and we're both absolutely committed to preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon," Romney said. "My own test is that Iran should not have the capability of producing a nuclear weapon. I think that's the same test that Benjamin Netanyahu would also apply."

Last month, Netanyahu asked the United Nations General Assembly to draw a "clear red line" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Holding up a picture of a bomb and drawing a line below the fuse, the Israeli prime minister said, "a red line should be drawn right here, before Iran completes a second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb, before Iran gets to a point where it's a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon."

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations has called Netanyahu's remarks "entirely baseless."

On Tuesday, Romney said "there's great hope and real prospects for dissuading Iran from taking a path that leads into a nuclear setting."

"Let's also recognize that we have a long way to go before military action may be necessary," Romney said. "And hopefully it's never necessary. Hopefully, through extremely tight sanctions, as well as diplomatic action, we can prevent Iran from taking a course which would lead to them crossing that line."

But should military action be necessary, he said "the actions of Israel would not come as a surprise to me," because he and the country's leaders would be in close touch.

Elsewhere in the region, Romney explained how he would handle the civil war in Syria: by working with allies in the region, particularly Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and identifying "voices within Syria that are reasonable voices, that are moderate voices, that are not al Qaeda or any jihadist-type group."

"We try to coalesce those groups together, provide them perhaps with funding," Romney said, also suggesting coordinating with those allies to arm the groups.

"But the key thing here is not just to sit back and hope things work out well, but to recognize that Iran is playing a major role in Syria, and we through our friends in the region must also be playing a role to ensure what's happening there and make sure we rid ourselves of Mr. Assad and don't have in his place chaos or some kind of organization which is as bad as he is or even worse take his place," he explained.

Domestically, Romney addressed Democratic criticism of his tax model, which he described as "inaccurate and wrong."

President Barack Obama charged at last Wednesday's debate that Romney's proposal to reduce rates would cost $5 trillion dollars, while Romney countered that he would not support a tax plan that would add to the federal deficit.

"The combination of limiting deductions and credits and exemptions as well as growth in our economy will make up for the reduction in rate," Romney told CNN Tuesday.

Pressed by Blitzer, Romney did not specify what credits and exemptions he would reduce, but he suggested two possible routes: to either limit the total amount in tax credits which could be claimed on a return, or put a ceiling on how much one could claim from a specific credit. The final plan, he said, would be worked out with Congress and follow four basic guidelines.

"I've made it pretty clear that my principles are: number one, simplify the code; number two, create incentives for small businesses and large businesses to grow; number three, don't reduce the burden on high-income taxpayers; and number four, remove the burden somewhat for middle-income people," he said. "So I don't want to raise taxes on any group of Americans."

Romney spoke to CNN shortly before holding a rally with supporters in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Mitt, Ann, and the 5 boys should all move to Israel. Let them shed their blood for Israel they sure have not for the USA.

    October 10, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  2. 2020

    Romney is so blind but he see eye to eye with Netanyahu, a picture hang on the wall.

    Romney the pathetic liar say anything do anything sleep anywhere just to get elected. Shame, shame, shame

    October 10, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  3. GetSmartUSA

    The only way there will be peace in the middle east is for USA to become the mediator it claims to be instead of a stooge to Isreal. You cannot mediate a conflict if you are already fully sided with one party. But that reminds me; Republicans are not intrested in middle east peace. It is bad for their millitary equipment bussinesses. That's why Romney's plan on the Ireali-Palestine crises is "kicking the ball down"! At least, that is what he told his close confidants in that fundraiser 47% tape.

    October 10, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  4. HomeSweetHome

    That is funny a few months ago Romney said he was going to take a wait and see stands.

    Well lets see what Romney says on Oct 16 he could flip flop again.

    One thing I have to say to Mr. Netanyahu, pay close attention to how Romney feels about his fellow 47% Americans and remember. If Romney has no respect for his fellow Americans how on earth can he have respect for you and your people.

    October 10, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  5. macsuirtain

    What's up. This one a hot potatoe? Well well.

    October 10, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  6. Alfredo Hernandez

    I guess this means another war if he's elected.

    October 10, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  7. Lysette

    How can Romney say "we have a long way to go before military action may be necessary" and that he has the same position as Israel, when Netanyahu referred to a spring or summer 2013 time frame for Iran to complete the next stage of uranium enrichment (his red line)? Based on Netanyahu's speech, there will be war by fall 2013 at the latest (enrichment + time for the construction of a weapon) or sooner if Israel considers the red line is reached.

    They are distributing gas masks in Israel already in preparation for all out war, and Spring 2013 isn't a long way away at all – it's what, enough time for Romney to win, get inaugerated, and then the bombs begin to fall?

    October 10, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  8. Trustyone

    Sure, more wars! sure, spend more on defense to bomb every imaginary enemies and put U.S. further in debts! Romney, why not send your sons to battle ground to show us you put your sons where your mouth is.

    October 10, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  9. Mittens

    SReally? That's all it takes? Reduce taxes for everyone with no specific plan, propose tight sanctions on Iran, similar to the current administration (only they're doing it wrong. Right mittens?), and find reasonable and moderate voices in an unstable middle east that are not terrorist in which we can hand over more tax dollars and weapons? Wow why didn't anyone else think of this?

    October 10, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  10. Jen

    But doesn't a red line crossed mean war unconditionally?

    October 10, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  11. R S

    Even as an independent, I feel that CNN is doing a very poor job of questioning the authenticity of candidate's claims. There was no question about Romney's claim of $716 billion cut from medicare, Education spending cuts detailed in Ryan's plan etc. Romney said ealier in an interview that his tax rate(14%) is fair and that is how it should be. And the rich shouldn't be paying more since they are job creators etc etc. CNN didn't question about his change of position at all.
    No wonder that CNN's ratings are so low. I used to watch CNN only at one point, and I'm deeply disappointed these days. Pathetic it is. I know now why others are disappointed too.

    October 10, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  12. Greg

    In the statement below Romney talks about limiting the tax credits and/or putting a ceiling on them. How is this not raising taxes?

    Pressed by Blitzer, Romney did not specify what credits and exemptions he would reduce, but he suggested two possible routes: to either limit the total amount in tax credits which could be claimed on a return, or put a ceiling on how much one could claim from a specific credit. The final plan, he said, would be worked out with Congress and follow four basic guidelines.

    October 10, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  13. Name Lewis

    why should iran should not produce nuclear weapon

    October 10, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  14. Dave in Arizona

    I think everyone agrees that nuclear non-proliferation is a good idea, but is it realistic?

    It's been nearly 70 years since we dropped the atomic bomb and opened Pandora's Box of this technology–and it's just that: technology. It's a tool that can be used for good or evil. It's a power source. And power sources are only going to become more and more vital to modern life. By attempting to deny countries this technology, we're effectively telling them that they're not allowed to advance that area of science; they're not allowed to grow and remain competitive with the rest of the world.

    How long do we think we can do that? 10 years? 50 years? 100 years?

    Eventually this will come to a matter of security vs. freedom. How can we pretend to encourage freedom and liberty, when we dictate to countries what they can and cannot do? In the meantime we'll see more and more resentment and an ever-growing likelihood of terrorism.

    This isn't a viable long-term strategy. It's easy to think like this because this level of technology is still relatively new, but hopefully mankind will be around for centuries or millennia more. (though I have my doubts...)

    October 10, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  15. Donkey Party

    The pandering from Romney is disgusting. What morally corrupt, serial lying shape-shifter.

    October 10, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  16. Jean-Paul Kirschstein

    Sure, there we go again...Donald Rumpsfeld as defense secretary?

    October 10, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  17. BCInNV

    I am tired of presidents ready to start wars over Israel; they are like the bad friend that brings you down. If you have a friend always in the middle of the fight are you going to spend your life getting bloody next to him, or are you going to move on, and find peace? I for one, will choose peace, and would tell my friend, get the bleep out!

    October 10, 2012 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  18. BCInNV

    I like how Romney so clearly states the problem Bush has put us in. It's strange he knows the numbers, and is ready to drive straight back into the very procedures that caused the catastrophe? Anyone ever ask themselves why? It's because a lot of rick people's money gets worth more as our wages stay stagnent, and he does better. His idea of a jobs plan is to devalue Americans through his taxes, therefore putting more to work, but for money thats worth less. Sure, he says we'll make more money. What he doesn't tell you is his policies will increase the cost of everything on this planet... it will be meaningless

    October 10, 2012 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  19. BCInNV

    I am tired of our country acting as a crutch for countries who can't stabilize peace in their own regions. Twitt Romney would not hesitate to throw my child in war for another country, especially since he doesn't have to stand next to them. By all means Romney, if you are elected, and we do go to war, please join the front lines. Ya right, not even they would want you on their back.

    October 10, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  20. DixonIV

    Now there is a surprise...another Republican who allows foriegn countries to control our foriegn policy. I wonder if this puts Israel in line behind the Saudis, Chinese, Indians...

    October 10, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  21. Name Moe

    Romney is an opportunist, he's all over the place with his fast double talk. If the american people is foolish enough to vote for him, they will get the government they deserve. Obama will be long gone to get his well deserved rest and the people will have buyers remorse after their saviour Romney lead them over a cliff. My granny once said, a cow never knew the use of his tail until he lose it. Obama/Biden 2012!

    October 10, 2012 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  22. Howling Wolf

    Currently suicides among military members are up 30%. We can not fight another war. We are tired.

    October 10, 2012 04:19 am at 4:19 am |
  23. Adam

    Seeing that Mitt isn't President, he should probably stop angering other countries with empty threats.

    October 10, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  24. Xaba

    Leave Iran alone. Thats the most democratic and peaceful country in the world. Unlike Israel and its mad Netanyahu.

    October 10, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  25. floyd hoover

    Romney says what he needs to say to get elected , after being elected he will do what benifits the 1 % ers who contributed to his campaign . Obamacare will be repealed with romneycare replacing it ,,,only difference being the MIDDLE CLASS will pay the lions share instead of the rich, Obamacare is the only shot we will ever have at affordable health care for the middle class and the poor...Don't be swayed by words ,,common sense will tell you Romneys buddies will always come first

    October 10, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
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