GOP Hopefuls: Stronger Stand on Iran Needed

Washington, Mar. 6 - On the day of a pivotal primary election, three Republican presidential candidates re-emphasized on Tuesday their commitment to stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and promised to go further than President Barack Obama in standing with Israel on the issue.

“In a Romney administration there will be no gap between our leaders,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said. “I will bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end.”

Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were speaking to the 14,000-plus delegates at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Santorum addressed the convention in person, while Romney and Gingrich appeared via webcam from the campaign trail on “Super Tuesday,” when 10 states hold their Republican primaries.

“While I cannot be with you, I stand with you,” Romney told the more than 13,000 pro-Israel activists attending the session. “I share your commitment to a strong and secure Israel. And I salute your tireless work to strengthen our alliance.”

“A nuclear Iran is not only a problem for Israel,” Romney said. “It is also a problem for America and the entire world.”

Romney also penned an Op-Ed in the Washington Post Tuesday entitled “How I Would Check Iran’s Nuclear Ambition,” where he reiterated those views.

In both his speech and the Op-Ed, Romney outlined new steps he would take to pressure Iran, including deploying multiple aircraft carrier groups in the waters around the country and more stringent sanctions against the regime.

Santorum said that throughout his Senate career, he was focused on the threat of a nuclear Iran, but was now ready to go further than the current administration in confronting the Islamic Republic.

"We must be prepared to set an ultimatum, and if that ultimatum is not met we must tell them that if they do not tear down those facilities, we will tear them down ourselves," he said, referring to the many installations throughout Iran where nuclear weapons work is suspected.

Gingrich told delegates that he believed “the red line is now” on Iran’s efforts to attain a nuclear weapon.

“In a Gingrich Administration, we would not keep talking while the Iranians keep building,” he said, while also promising to work toward “regime change” as soon as he took office.

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