News24

'Copycat' Romney slams Obama on Iran

2012-03-06 13:03

Washington - US Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has vowed to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons but his policies strongly resemble those of President Barack Obama, whom he hopes to replace in November.

"While Obama frets in the White House, the Iranians are making rapid progress toward obtaining the most destructive weapons in the history of the world," Romney wrote in an op-ed on the Washington Post's website Monday.

"The perils for Israel, for our other allies and for our own forces in the region will become unthinkable. The United States cannot afford to let Iran acquire nuclear weapons. Yet under Barack Obama, that is the course we are on.

"As president, I would move America in a different direction."

However, Romney's prescription for halting Iran's nuclear programme - which Tehran insists is entirely peaceful - consists of strengthening sanctions while refusing to take the option of military strikes off the table.

Obama has presided over a dramatic ramping up of sanctions on Iran, has said an Iranian nuclear weapon is "unacceptable" and, like Romney, has refused to rule out military action to prevent Iran from developing an atomic weapon.

All options on the table

The president on Sunday slammed "loose talk" about war during a speech to the top pro-Israel lobby, but said his intention was to do everything necessary to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

"My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons ... when I say all options are on the table, I mean it," Obama said.

The Republican nominees vying to win their party's nomination to take on Obama in November's general election have accused the president of emboldening Iran by showing lacklustre support for Israel.

Romney vowed to make Jerusalem his first destination as president and to increase military assistance to the Jewish state.

Obama has countered that his administration has boosted both aid to Israel and bilateral military co-ordination to unprecedented levels.

On Monday, Obama assured visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he had Israel's "back" but also stressed that he saw a "window" for diplomacy with Iran.

Netanyahu's visit comes amid rampant speculation Israel could soon mount a high risk go-it-alone military action against Iran.