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Romney: 'Nuclear Iran Represents the Greatest Threat to the World'

6:51 PM, Jul 26, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney bluntly states that "A nuclear Iran represents the greatest threat to the world."

Mitt Romney

"I have said in the past and I can reiterate now that it is essential that Iran does not become nuclear," Romney says, according to a transcript of the interview. "A nuclear Iran represents the greatest threat to the world, to the United States and to the very existence of Israel. A nuclear Iran would mean that Hezbollah or other actors would potentially someday be able to secure fissile materials which would threaten the world. Five years ago I spoke at the Herzliya Conference and I laid out seven steps that I felt were necessary to keep Iran from becoming nuclear. These included crippling sanctions, indicting [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide, standing for voices of dissent within Iran, and developing reliable military options were they the last resort that had to be exercised. I continue to believe that these principles are vital, and are perhaps more urgent today."

Romney, however, would not directly reveal whether he supports regime change Iran. But he did say, "America is wise to stand by people seeking freedom − particularly in nations that regularly chant ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel." It was a signal that he would look favorably upon, and act to help, the pro-democracy movement in Iran. 

And that point was further emphasized when Romney stated, "If there are voices for change and hearts yearning for freedom, America will stand by them."

In the interview, Romney was careful not to rule out using American military force to deal with Iran. "[A] military option is by far the least attractive option, but it should not be ruled out. The military option should be evaluated and available if no other course is successful," said Romney.

Romney is currently in London, kicking off his brief world tour, but will be visiting Israel in a few days to hold high-level meetings with political leaders there. 

Because Romney is abroad, he did not to attack President Obama's positions or leadership.

"Because we are on foreign soil, I will refrain in this interview from being critical of the president or open[ing] up new avenues of foreign policy that might be seen to be in contradiction to that of the current government," Romney told the reporter from Haaretz.

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