The Obama administration has imposed unilateral financial and energy sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, in addition to wrangling four sets of sanctions imposed by the United Nations since 2006. The sanctions are partially responsible for the Iranian currency dropping by almost 40 percent in value in the past week and are having “significant” effects on the Iranian people, according to United Nations chief Ban Ki Moon.
Romney, who just this week conceded that the Afghan surge, approved by Obama in 2009, was a success, called for “a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.” He explicitly left open the prospect of a longer U.S. presence.
“I’ll evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders,” Romney said. “And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.”
U.S. troops are already in the process of training Afghan forces and handing off security responsibilities to them by the end of 2014. In March Obamae said U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by then, although he also said he had signed an agreement with the Afghanistan government pledging continued U.S. security and training assistance for a decade longer.
Romney has criticized the president for setting a public deadline and disregarding calls by some commanders to allow some troops to stay beyond that deadline.
Romney said the relationship between the United States and Israel has “suffered great strains” under the Obama administration and argued that the President “explicitly stated that his goal was to put ‘daylight’ between the United States and Israel.” Romney was referring to a meeting with Jewish leaders early on in his presidency when Obama is reported to have said, “When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.”
Romney said that he will “recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.”
In a video of remarks at a private fundraiser that was recently released by Mother Jones magazine, Romney says he is torn by two perspectives of the conflict. On one hand he describes a view that he’s “had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace.” Romney goes onto say that in this line of thinking you have to “sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
But he also tells the donors that he had heard from a former secretary of state who believes there is a prospect for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. “I always keep open the idea,” he concluded in the taped remarks.