For those who were wondering how quickly Iran and Israel would return to the U.S. presidential race - especially after Rep. Paul Ryan's meeting with the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson last week, who cares a lot about Israel - well, it happened on Friday: the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calling Israel "an insult to humanity" was good enough excuse for the Republican duo to pledge tougher approach toward Iran - once again, without many specifics.
Republican presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney released a statement in which he called Ahmadinejad's "latest outrageous remarks" - "another reminder of what is at stake. As I said recently when visiting Jerusalem, ‘We have seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again.’”
His running mate Paul Ryan at the campaign event in Springfield, Virginia shifted suddenly from the economy to the national security, calling it "the first responsibility of our federal government."
"In the past day, Iran’s President called our ally Israel ‘a cancerous tumor that must be excised,’" Ryan said. "Let me be really clear. Under President Romney our adversaries will think twice about challenging America and our allies because we believe in peace through strength. There will be no daylight between America and our friends around the world. Strong national defense, peace through strength, strong relationship with our allies.”
The White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest commented on the Israeli President Shimon Peres' remarks, who called to trust President Obama on Iran.
"We certainly were gratified to see President Peres' comments on this topic that were reported yesterday," Earnest said, stressing that the Obama's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon "is rock solid."
"It's unwavering, and it is why the president has expressed such fierce resolve in terms of asking Iran to live up to their international obligations, in terms of working with the international community to apply very onerous sanctions on the Iranian regime. It's why we've also acted unilaterally to apply some very strict sanctions and put those in place, to provide an incentive for the Iranian regime to live up to their international obligations. All of that is with the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. This is something that we've conveyed extensively publicly. It's also something that we've conveyed in the many private conversations that are going on every day between the Obama administration and our counterparts and colleagues in Israel."
The House Majority leader Eric Cantor said "There’s nothing new in Ahmadinejad’s ugly remarks today; he’s been spewing such hatred for years. The Obama Administration wasted precious time during some of those years trying to reason with the ayatollahs and it delayed for too long in imposing sanctions that would truly bite. Now, as Iran marches forward in its race to gain the capability to build a nuclear bomb, we find ourselves in need of strong leadership in the White House. We don’t have that leadership now.”
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