The Corner

Romney Beats Obama on Iran

Governor Romney demonstrated a laser-like focus on why the Islamic Republic remains America’s “greatest national-security threat.”

He reminded Americans that Obama betrayed the pro-democracy Iranian activists who challenged their country’s fraudulent 2009 election. The “president remained silent,” about the Green Revolution, Romney explained.

He stressed that he would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear “capability,” while Obama said he would only block a breakout of Iranian weapons development. The distinction is crucial, because intelligence assessments have frequently missed breakout periods (think Pakistan).

Romney pushed for an accelerated schedule of hard-hitting sanctions that will decimate Iran’s wobbly economy. To Obama’s credit, he has imposed the most potent package of Iran sanctions since Iran mounted its war of terror against the U.S. after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Romney, however, noted that Obama’s sanctions strategy have gone into effect too late, and showed that his rhetoric toward Iran’s leaders has been impotent. In short, Romney argued that Obama sent Iran’s jingoistic regime a weak-kneed response.

Romney also equated Iran’s system with the former apartheid regime in South Africa. He clearly understands that the West needs to delegitimize Iran’s regime with a view toward transforming the country’s government into a democracy. For Americans who vividly recall Iran’s storming of the U.S. embassy in 1979 and the hostage crisis, Romney’s understanding of the nefarious inner workings of Iran’s regime is clearly what we need to defend U.S. interests and international security.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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