Mitt Romney continued his attack on the Obama administration’s Iran policy yesterday evening in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Romney, once again, falsely claimed the Obama administration has taken the “military option” off the table and claimed he would impose “crippling sanctions” on Iran’s nuclear program. Blitzer asked Romney about his Iran policy:
BLITZER: How far would go to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb?
ROMNEY: Well Iran has to be convinced that we would go all the way, we would take military action, and that military action is on the table. I think our president has communicated in various subtle ways that there is not a military option that we would consider. I think that’s a mistake. I think you have to have crippling sanctions against Iran. I think you have to have covert action in Iran to convince the people there of the folly of becoming a nuclear nation. But I think the Iranians have to believe as well, and particularly their leadership believe, that America is would considering taking military option [sic]. That has to be on the table and plans have to be in place and that’s clearly something that you have to consider.
It’s unclear what “subtle ways” the White House indicated that the “military option” was off the table but Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, when asked about military contingencies for attacking Iran during his Senate confirmation hearing, said that such planning was occurring.
Romney’s claims that the administration failed to successfully use covert action or sanctions to slow Iran’s nuclear program would also appear to be politically motivated, yet factually baseless, charges. Covert action, such as the Stuxnet computer virus, and sanctions appear to have had the intended effect of slowing the Iranian nuclear program. Indeed, IAEA reports would indicate that the nuclear program is moving much more slowly than either Tehran or Washington’s Iran hawks would care to mention.
But Romney’s baseless attacks on Obama’s Iran policy appear to have become a go-to talking point in the GOP presidential hopeful’s interviews. What’s even more interesting is that, so far, no interviewer has called him out on the blatantly false statements he is making about the U.S.’s efforts to slow Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.