This post was updated on July 28, 2012.
Speaking at the AIPAC conference this year, President Obama assured Americans and Israel of his commitment to confronting Iran over its nuclear program, but noted that there is “too much loose talk of war” as “an opportunity remains for diplomacy—backed by pressure—to succeed.” During his speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this year, Romney tried to convince Americans that he will “use every means necessary” against Iran.
Mitt Romney decided to turn a sensitive diplomatic situation into a political opportunity to attack the President. Yesterday, Romney told an 11-year-old boy that “if Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear weapon” because the President “failed to communicate [to Iran] that military options are on the table.”
“I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.”
Both American and Iranian officials are very clear about the fact that President Obama means to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon:
In fact, the President has worked with the international community to pass “the most comprehensive sanctions that the Iranian government has faced”—including restrictions on its nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and for the first time, its conventional military.
As the President told Iran’s leaders in his AIPAC speech, “I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”
Having made it clear that he does not “bluff” and that he views an Iranian nuclear weapon as “unacceptable,” President Obama has directed his administration to plan for whatever action may be necessary. As Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said last year, if “we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it … There are no options off the table.”
General Martin Dempsey said that under the Obama administration, his responsibility “is to encourage the right degree of planning, to understand the risks associated with any kind of military option—in some cases to position assets, to provide those options on—in a timely fashion. And all those activities are going on.”
On July 4th, Israeli President Shimon Peres said, “I am convinced that President Obama will stand on this issue strong as a lion.“And after personally meeting with President Obama this year, he said said he “left with the feeling that [President Obama] is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and he is very serious … He is sharply clear and is not playing politics.”
If Romney is really concerned with U.S. policies towards Iran, he should not be playing politics either.