In an interview that aired on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, MItt Romney said that his “red line” on Iran — the point that would trigger a U.S. military response to Iran’s nuclear program — is the same as President Obama’s, despite a Romney adviser’s assertion that Iran represents “the sharpest foreign policy difference” between the two candidates.
After Romney told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that his “red line” on Iran is that the Islamic Republic “may not have a nuclear weapon,” the host pointed out that his policy is the same as Obama’s. The GOP presidential nominee agreed:
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama said exactly the same thing. He said it’s unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. So your red line is the same as his.
ROMNEY: Yeah, and I laid out what I would do to keep Iran from reaching that red line. […]
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your red line going forward is the same?
ROMNEY: 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.
Watch the clip:
Romney’s statement illustrates the confusion from Romney’s team on Iran, and indeed on the Romney camp’s wider foreign policy. (Romney’s foreign policy director would neither confirm nor deny that Romney is a neoconservative.) On one hand, the Romney campaign struggles to differentiate its Iran policy from President Obama’s, and on the other, his team sounds more like a neocon revival committee pushing for another war in the Middle East.
The New York Times noticed this contradiction as well, reporting in an article on Friday that a senior foreign policy adviser to Romney said the former Massachusetts governor “would not be content with an Iran one screwdriver’s turn away from a nuclear weapon.” But, the Times added, the adviser “stopped short of saying exactly where, in the development of nuclear capability, Mr. Romney would draw the line.”
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 yesterday. 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.