On 'red lines,' Obama and Romney appear in agreement
September 16th, 2012
09:14 AM ET
11 years ago

On 'red lines,' Obama and Romney appear in agreement

Washington (CNN) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview aired Sunday that the upcoming U.S. presidential election should not influence the debate over how and when to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, a contentious issue that remains a sticking point between the Israeli leader and President Barack Obama.

Yet in recent interviews, Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have stated largely similar stances on the issue of setting clear "red line" boundaries for Iran as it advances its nuclear program, which leaders in Tehran maintain is for peaceful purposes.

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"The Iranian centrifuges that are charging ahead simply do not take time out for the American elections," Netanyahu told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."

Calls for specific "red lines" that Israel and its allies would set on Iran's nuclear program have thus far been rebuffed by the Obama administration, though the president has said it would be unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

In an interview with Telemundo on Wednesday, Obama said he had "stated repeatedly, publicly, that red line - and that is we're not going to accept Iran having a nuclear weapon." He did not offer any specific threshold in the development of such a weapon that would prompt the United States to take action.

The issue has played a role on the campaign trail, with Romney sharply criticizing the president for not doing more to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weaponry.

Yet in an interview this week, Romney struck much the same tone as Obama in describing his own "red line" for Iran.

"My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon," Romney told ABC News. "It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world. Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to the United States of America."

When asked if the two would have the same "red line" going forward, Romney said "yes."

"And recognize that when one says that it's unacceptable to the United States of America, that that means what it says. You'll take any action necessary to prevent that development, which is Iran becoming nuclear," Romney continued.

Obama's campaign and administration have defended their steps to stem Iran's nuclear ambitions, including what they say are historic and crippling sanctions on the country.

On Sunday, Netanyahu wouldn't say which candidate he thought would better handle the issue.

"I know that people are trying to draw me into the American election, and I'm not going to do that," Netanyahu said. "But I will say that we value, we cherish the bipartisan support for Israel in the United States, and we're supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. This is not an electoral issue. It is not based on any electoral consideration. I think that there's a common interest of all Americans, of all political persuasions, to stop Iran."

Filed under: Benjamin Netanyahu • Israel • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    The difference is, Mitt will change his mind if BiBi tells him to. He said in the primaries "I would call my good friend BiBi and ask him what I should say".

    We found out late one night last week what BiBi told him to say.

    We need a steady hand, not someone who changes their mind in favor of the best friend or highest bidder.

    September 16, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Netenyahu is dictating USA is very pathetic in 21st century. It is total nonsense.

    September 16, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. jaimie

    Romneyhood .......... Give to the Rich take from the poor

    September 16, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan .......... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century

    September 16, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. JohnWV

    "...no country can allow another to impose the conditions under which it will go to war. The Israeli leader wants a tripwire that would trigger military action. But presidents don’t turn over that power of war and peace, even to their best friends." David Ignatius 9/14/12 

    September 16, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. JohnWV

    NO MORE WARS! Israel has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran; actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the $$$ billions we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. American foreign policy must again serve American interests, not the Jewish state's relentless pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid supremacist empire. NO MORE WARS!

    September 16, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Frank S

    Now we know how other countries feel when the US arrogantly tells them how to run their foreign policy. Netanyahu should focus more on the two-state solution such as stopping provocative settlement activity.

    The US, not Netanyahu, will determine when and what to do about Iran, thanks.

    September 16, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |