Mitt Romney on Iran

Last Updated : Sep 10, 2012


Governor Romney has taken a hard line stance on the relationship with Iran. He supports strong economic sanctions, possible diplomatic isolation of Iran, and ensuring that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. He has maintained these views throughout the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. 

2008 Presidential Campaign

In an appearance on "This Week" in February of 2007, Governor Romney stated that Iran was involved with attacks on US soldiers in Iraq, and that attempts to engage in talks with Iran were timidity. He called for tighter sanctions, and referred to Iran as a suicidal nation.

Throughout the remainder of 2007, Governor Romney granted interviews, made TV appearances, and gave speeches in which he touted a 5 part plan for dealing with Iran. This plan consisted of tighter economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, communicating to the Iranian people about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, engaging the moderate Muslim states in the neighborhood, and putting together a much broader comprehensive strategy to defeat radical jihad in the world of Islam.

Post 2008 Election

In October of 2009, Governor Romney reacted to statements made by President Obama that Iran could be talked with by saying that a charm offensive will not talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons, and that agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea.

Later in that same month, Governor Romney stated that the Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany. He also stated that the military option must remain on the table -- and that threat needs to be credible. He stated in an op-ed that the Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, and ultimately the world. He called it a repressive regime… an intractable enemy of liberty and human rights… the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and subversive war and that the threat it poses to the world would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power.

2012 Presidential Election

In a foreign policy debate in November of 2011, Governor Romney asserted that President Obama should have made sure that Iran knows that it cannot obtain a nuclear weapon. He stated that President Obama should have made it clear that in the final analysis, if necessary, the US will take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. He asserted that if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and if we elect him, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.

That same month, Governor Romney wrote a foreign policy paper in which he asserted that three steps needed to be taken to address Iran. The first of these was a fifth round of sanctions against Iran and continuing attempting to get these sanctions passed in the UN. He also called for greater diplomatic isolation.

The second item Governor Romney would pursue would be to support the emergence of a democratic alternative to the current repressive and reckless regime in Tehran. This would include the recognition of the strong national interest we have in the success of the Arab Spring in Syria and the removal of the Bashar al-Assad regime. 

The final piece that Governor Romney supports is the completion of the missile defense system in time. This would include reverting to President Bush's original plan of deploying proven interceptor technology in Poland if it becomes clear that Iran is making faster progress on developing long range missiles than the Obama plan assumes or if the new technologies on which the plan relies fail to materialize in a timely fashion.

This three part plan of action was mirrored on Governor Romney's campaign website for most of the 2012 election. It was updated to include a fouth facet stating that a credible military option must remain in place to deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weaepons. That section states that U.S. policy toward Iran must begin with an understanding on Iran’s part that a military option to deal with their nuclear program remains on the table. This message should not only be delivered through words, but through actions. This includes restoring the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously, and increased communications and relations with Israel.

In March of 2012, Governor Romney delivered taped remarks to the AIPAC Policy Conference. In those remarks, he asserted that he woud bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end. He stated that he would not delay in imposing further crippling sanctions and fully implementing existing ones, and that he will make sure Iran knows of the very real peril that awaits if it becomes nuclear. He also stated that he would engage Iran’s neighbors and station multiple carriers and warships at Iran’s door. He also noted the need to stand with the Syrian people against Assad as that regime was one of Iran's closest allies.


ABC This Week

On February 16, 2007 Governor Romney was interviewed by George Stephanopoulis and discussed the ability of Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and the role of the US in stopping an Iranian attack.


Real Clear Politics Interview

In February of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by Real Clear Politics. The interviewed covered a number of subjects, and Iran was one of those subjects.


Fox News Appearance

In March of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on Fox News and spoke about Iran. He stated that the US should tighten sanctions, and that diplomatic isolation should be the rule of the day. He also called for companies to move their pensions funds away from companies that do business with Iran.


Yeshiva University Remarks

On April 26, 2007 Governor Romney spoke at Yeshiva University about Israel and Iran. On the topic of Iran, Governor Romney stated that the US and Israel's other allies need to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. To address the Iranian threat, Governor Romney put forth a 5 point plan which included tighter sanctions, diplomatic isolation, coordination with Arab allies, threat of a military response if Iran goes nuclear, and a global campaign against “radical Islam.”


Reaction to Ahmadinejad Speech

In September of 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. Governor Romney stated that he should not be allowed to make that speech, but rather President Ahmadinejad should be indicted under the Geneva Convention.


This Week Appearance

On June 14, 2009 Governor Romney appeared on ABC's This Week and was asked about the recent uprising in Iran in response to flawed election results. 


MSNBC Appearance

In July of 2009 Governor Romney appeared on Morning Joe on MSNBC and discussed recent long range missile launches by Iran and the broader US relationship with Iran.


AIPAC Speech

In October of 2009, Governor Romney spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in San Diego and criticized President Obama's view that Iran should be talked with instead of acted against.


Op-Ed - Iran Biggest Threat Since Soviet Union

In October of 2009, Governor Romney wrote an op-ed discussing the threat posed by Iran in relation to the US's history with the Soviet Union.


CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 11, 2011 Governor Romney participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked there about Iran and he states that he will not allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon. He supports sanctions and regime change.


CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Romney participated in the national security debate on CNN.  He calls for "crippling sanctions" on Iran, indicting Ahmadinejad for violating the Geneva -- or the Genocide Convention.


Foreign Policy Paper

In November of 2011, Governor Romney's presidential campaign put out a white paper on foreign policy. One of the countries covered in this white paper was Iran.


AIPAC Policy Conference

In March of 2012, Governor Romney sent a video to the AIPAC policy conference. His super-Tuesday schedule prevented him from being present at the event, but the text of that video is shown below.


Meet the Press

On September 9, 2012 Governor Romney appeared on Meet the Press and discussed a number of issues. One of those issues was Iran. Governor Romney again asserted that a nuclear Iran was not acceptable. He went on to call for "crippling sanctions" against the country.


Campaign Website Statements



[1] Website: ABC This Week Article: Romney: Iran Is 'Suicidal' Nation Author: NA Accessed on: 06/13/2011

[2] Website: Article: Gov. Romney slams Obama's Iran stance Author: Reid Wilson Accessed on: 06/13/2011

[3] Website: Human Events Article: Iran: Biggest Threat Since Soviets Author: Mitt Romney Accessed on: 06/13/2011

[4] Website: Fox News Article: Mitt Romney Says Iran's Ahmadinejad Should be Kept Out of U.N. Meeting, Indicted Author: AP Accessed on: 06/22/2011

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