(NEW YORK) — Mitt Romney has skewered President Obama’s Iran policy. But in an exclusive interview, days after the Israeli Prime Minister criticized the U.S. for not putting “red lines before Iran,” Romney told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he would draw the same line in the sand as Obama.
“My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world. Iran with a nuclear weapon or with fissile material that can be given to Hezbollah or Hamas or others has the potential of not just destabilizing the Middle East. But it could be brought here,” Romney said.
“Look, Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to the United States of America,” he said.
Stephanopoulos pointed out that Obama also says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and asked Romney if he therefore has the same “red line” as Obama?
“Yes,” Romney said.
The difference, Romney said, is what he would do to keep Iran from reaching the line.
“I spoke some years ago in Israel at the Herzliya Conference and laid out seven steps to keep Iran from becoming nuclear. They have not been taken, until one, more recently. I said that crippling sanctions needed to be put in place immediately,” he said.
Had those sanctions been implemented Iran’s economy “would be on its knees at this point,” Romney said.
“That combined with standing up with Iranian dissidents, the president was silent, when dissidents took to the streets in Tehran. I would have spoken out in favor of representative government and against the Ahmadinejad regime. The president was silent. In addition, I think Ahmadinejad should have been indicted under the genocide conviction,” he said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Angela Dewan and Donie O'Sullivan, CNN
Evan McKirdy, Tim Hume and James Masters, CNN
Karla Pequenino, CNN
Reed Alexander and James Griffiths, CNN