Open Zion

09.21.12

Romney Shifts Iran Red Line On Rabbi Call

Mitt Romney's taken a lot of heat lately—and garnering some support—for things he said about the Mideast during a private fundraiser. His shifting  positions again became evident on a conference call with a group of American rabbis on Thursday night. This time, Romney addressed Iran.

Amid the recent campaign by Benjamin Netanyahu to get the U.S. to shift its "red lines" on Iran—something the Obama administration's refused to do—Romney came out last week and dialed down his rhetoric, laying the red line down at the same place Obama had placed his. On the call Thursday, as reported by Foreign Policy, Romney moved back to an earlier position, setting the line at Iranian "capability" rather than actual weapons production:

"Your good friend Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu says that the international community needs to draw a red line for Iran. Do you agree that a red line needs to be drawn, and where would you draw it?," Rabbi Efrem Goldberg asked on the call, a recording of which was provided to The Cable.

"With regards to the red line, I would image Prime Minister Netanyahu is referring to a red line over which if Iran crossed it would take military action. And for me, it is unacceptable or Iran to have the capability of building a nuclear weapon, which they could use in the Middle East or elsewhere," Romney said. "So for me, the red line is nuclear capability. We do not want them to have the capacity of building a bomb that threatens ourselves, our friends, and the world."

Romney declined to explain exactly what he meant by "the Iranian capability," but broadly defined it as "capability to have not only fissile material, but bomb making capability and rocketry." So Romney is again lowering the threshold for war against Iran, after having raised it to be on par with Obama last week. Some might call this a flip-flop.