Mitt Romney told a group of rabbis and other Jewish leaders on a telephone call on Thursday that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would be his threshold in which he would launch a military strike on the Islamic Republic, Foreign Policy reports:
“With regards to the red line, I would image Prime Minister Netanyahu is referring to a red line over which if Iran crossed it would take military action. And for me, it is unacceptable or Iran to have the capability of building a nuclear weapon, which they could use in the Middle East or elsewhere,” Romney said. “So for me, the red line is nuclear capability. We do not want them to have the capacity of building a bomb that threatens ourselves, our friends, and the world.”
Romney’s new so-called “red line” represents a shift from what he said just last week, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that his red line is the same as President Obama’s.
A nuclear weapons capability is not easily defined and as many experts have observed, Iran currently has the capability to produce a nuclear weapon. Before Romney’s interview with ABC, his campaign aides had said that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would be the GOP presidential nominee’s “red line.” But they would not specify their definition of “capability.”
President Obama has said that he won’t allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration is aware, not only of the threat an Iranian nuclear weapon poses, but also the potential negative consequences of a military attack on Iran, such as those outlined in a new bipartisan expert report released last week. And that, coupled with U.N., U.S. and Israeli assessments that Iran has not yet decided on whether to build a nuclear weapon, leads the administration to pursue a diplomatic solution with Iran, a track the it deems the “best and most permanent way” to solve the nuclear crisis.