Romney Blasts Obama: '180 Degree' Flip on Iran Nukes

During my exclusive "This Week" interview with former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., he blasted President Barack Obama's handling of U.S. foreign relations, accusing him of "apologizing for America" and arguing that Obama flipped "180 degree" on Iran's nuclear program.

Here's our exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: "What do you think of the administration's response to the [Iranian] election so far and how would you respond?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, the comments by the president last week that there was a robust debate going on in Iran was obviously entirely wrong-headed. What has occurred is that the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you're seeing a brutal repression of the people as they protest.

The president ought to come out and state exactly those words, indicate that this has been a terribly managed decision by the autocratic regime in Iran.

It's very clear that the president's policies of going around the world and apologizing for America aren't working. North Korea is not just saber rattling. They've taken the saber out of the sheath. Iran is moving headlong towards nuclearization. Russia is on the same course they were on. And all of the apologies that he provided to the Europeans have not led any of the European nations to provide additional support for us in Afghanistan.Look, just sweet talk and criticizing America is not going to enhance freedom in the world.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Others have argued, Governor, that the president's speech and the president's outreach is one of the things that led to Hezbollah being defeated in the Lebanese elections last week. And one of the things that led to such an outpouring in the streets in opposition in Iran. Do you dispute that?

ROMNEY: You know, I can't tell you what led to the people running into the streets in Iran. I hope, in fact, that they're very anxious to see new leadership in that country. But I can tell you that the results are what I'm interested in. Is Iran still pursuing nuclear weaponry? And there's no question about at.

And one aspect of what the president said may have been well received in Iran, but I think it was poorly received in Israel and around the world. And that's when -- well, actually, he made a 180-degree flip from what he had said during the campaign. During the campaign, when he spoke to AIPAC, he said he would do everything in his power to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And then he went to Cairo and said that no single nation should have the ability to deny another nation the right to have a nuclear weapon. That is an 180-degree flip of a dangerous nature. I'm sure it was welcome in many streets in the Arab world and in the world that's most -- include the Persian world, Iran as well. But that's not right for America. That's not right for world security.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe the administration has said that they believe that Iran could have the right to nuclear power with appropriate safeguards, but not a nuclear weapon.

But what would you do now then? If you were president -- you know, it's not just President Ahmadinejad in Iran who said that he believes Iran should have a right to nuclear power. It's the supreme leader. It was -- every candidate in the race said that Iran should have a right to pursue nuclear power.

ROMNEY: We don't have any question about nuclear power, and that was not the statement that the president made that was most offensive. It was his statement that no single nation should have the ability to deny another nation the right to nuclear weaponry.

Now, of course with regards to nuclear power, we have no problem under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty for nations to pursue nuclear power. And in the case of Iran, it's pretty clear that's not what they're doing. When you sit on a lake of oil, you're not looking for a new source of energy. They're obviously developing this technology for military purposes. And offers were made, including by Russia, to provide the necessary nuclear material for nuclear power, and the Iranians turned that down. So let's not pretend or give into the Iranian way of thinking, that somehow this is about nuclear power. It's very clearly about nuclear weaponry. And you also see, of course, the same kind of outrage coming from North Korea."

Read my full interview with Romney HERE, including his thoughts on who speaks for the Republican Party. --George Stephanopoulos

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...