Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaking via satellite from Boston to the AIPAC conference on Super Tuesday morning, criticized the Obama administration’s “naive” approach to preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons capability.
“The current administration has distanced itself from Israel and visibly warmed to the Palestinian cause,” Romney said. “It has emboldened the Palestinians. They are convinced that they can do better at the UN – and better with America – than they can at the bargaining table with Israel.
“As president, I will treat our allies and friends like friends and allies.”
The Republican presidential candidate slammed the White House for sending the “clear message” that it’s warning Israel against a strike on Iran.
“I do not believe that we should be issuing public warnings that create distance between the United States and Israel. Israel does not need public lectures about how to weigh decisions of war and peace,” Romney said.
He said that Iran is engaged in terrorism — “they war against America” — and criticized Obama for pursuing a policy of engagement.
“Hope is not a foreign policy,” Romney said. “The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.
“Of course, the administration’s naive outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most,” he added. “It gave them time. Whatever sanctions they may now belatedly impose, Iran has already gained three invaluable years.”
He said it’s a mistake to view Iran as a rational actor or speak of common interests that could fuel diplomacy.
“Let me be clear: we do not have common interests with a terrorist regime,” Romney said. “Their interest is in the destruction of Israel and the domination of the Middle East. It is profoundly irrational to suggest that the ayatollahs think the way we do or share our values. They do not.”
He vowed to expand all of the armed services while Obama has been leading military cutbacks.
“I seek it to prevent wars,” Romney said. “As president, peace will be my solemn goal.”
He promised that as president, his first foreign trip would not be to Riyadh, but to Jerusalem.
A panel of AIPAC activists then had the opportunity to ask Romney a few questions.
Asked what he would do stop Iran, the governor advocated diplomatic pressure and sanctions, indicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad under the genocide convention, and using a military buildup “to show Iran that we’re at their doorstep.”