Romney: Military option in Iran should not be ruled out
July 26th, 2012
09:15 PM ET
10 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. BeverlyNC

    This from a man who managed to alienate our closest ally over rude and stupid comments he made about their hosting of the Olympic games. The British Prime Minister, the London mayor, and the British press all severely criticized Romney for his statements. The Press even called Romney "another Dubya" and "worse than Sarah Palin". Romney can't even go to the Olympics without making all of England mad at him and here he is talking about foreign policy on Iran. Sorry Mitt – you have just shown you have no credibility or knowledge to handle any foreign policy issue. Please go home now and don't go to Israel. They won't tolerate your gaffes as well as Britian did. I think Europe just created a SuperPac to contribute to keeping President Obama in office!

    July 27, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  2. ozonator

    If GOP Mitt is going to take back the Holy Land of Marsh Arabs, the perfect army is of extremist Republican and Christian House of Representatives, NRA lobbyists, extremist media outlet talent (not George Noory), and their plantation owners. Iran can set up bleachers for all the happy tourists – it would be more popular than Olympics, Cricket, soccer, and football.

    July 27, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  3. Mohsen.A

    I think such statements that released by Mr.Romney and even Mr.Obama about military option in Iran is just for satisfying pro-Israel lobby groups and achieving their material and spiritual supports.

    July 27, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  4. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Bishop Romney, Kolob orders you to invade.

    July 27, 2012 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  5. AJ

    Romney is W on steriods, another war monger.

    July 27, 2012 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  6. Kevin

    Another war mongering republican, just want the country needs.

    July 27, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |

    Romney the clown should run for president of somila ,he might have a chance over there because they share the same values and you don't need to show your tax returns .

    July 27, 2012 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  8. Marie MD

    OMG!!! The President is getting the troops out of Afghanistan, the forgotten war by #43 and the rethugs, and has pulled troops our of Iraq and this cretin is thinking about military intervention in Iran?
    This shows you that education and money don't make the man. You need a good head on your shoulders, diplomacy, empathy and smarts. This idiot has none of these leadership qualities!!!

    July 27, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  9. King

    these people elect a repub over Obama who they never gave a chance to fix the economy, because they keep voting in repub obstructionist. I don't want to hear no complains, wars no complains, global weather catostrophies no complains, the rich sucking all the money out of our economy and bring it and our jobs to China no complains. this wont be like the 2010 election when they decimated the dems and defectively shut down the country with a bunch of right winged lunatics that they put in office, their will be no obama left to look out for their best interest, and no Obama to blame everything on.

    July 27, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You should communicate that thought to the soldiers directly Robmey when you stop by Afghanistan to see them during your "foreign policy" augmentation tour. Oh, but're NOT going to visit our soldiers in Afghanistan. Probably too dangerous huh?
    Never mind.
    Obama 2012. Because Romney is a clown.

    July 27, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
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