President Barack Obama's letter
to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggesting that the nation both sign a long-fought-over nuclear agreement and then join with the forces fighting the Islamic state was "beyond the pale" and "naive," Mitt Romney said Friday.
"I was frankly stunned that the President of the United States would write a letter of that nature, in effect legitimizing a nation and a leadership which is violating international norms and is threatening the world," the former Republican presidential nominee said during a speech at the inaugural Israeli American Council National Conference, reports The Washington Times
"I find it astonishing. You can talk about a president talking to other world leaders. But to suggest that somehow we could somehow work together is something that is so far beyond the pale I was speechless."
The former Massachusetts governor made his remarks during a forum that also featured former Sen. Joe Lieberman at the opening of the conference over the weekend in Washington, reports San Diego Jewish World
And instead of cooperative letters to Iran, "the right kind of approach is to recognize Iran in the way we thought about South Africa during apartheid," Romney continued. "We considered it a pariah. Their leaders were shunned, they were not invited to international bodies. We exerted moral sway. To somehow have communications with Iran’s supreme leader is, in my view, an enormous error."
Further, Romney said that it's tempting to think Obama is "inept" when it comes to foreign affairs, but the fact is, he has a foreign policy. The problem, Romney said, is that the policy is "ineffective and wrong,” and is far too removed from practices that have been in place since the end of World War II.
Those policies, Romney told the audience, included an America that was involved but still remained strong while promoting its values.
"The president is weakening our military and distancing us from our allies — which weakens us," said Romney. “The president began by going into the Arab world and apologizing for America, and saying we were dictatorial, divisive — and that we were dismissive of other nations. And the remarkable thing is that he now is doing that very thing. But not to our enemies. To our friends."
Such actions, he complained, are resulting in "bold actions by authoritarian regimes around the world, because they lead "bad people to think America can be pushed around.”
In addition to Lieberman, other speakers include Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.; Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, Israel’s former U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman; and the business leaders Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban.
Lieberman said the conference was "history-making," reports San Diego Jewish World. "As individuals and as the Israeli-American community, you have a vision and you have values and you are organizing now to take action based on that vision and those values."
The event was Romney's first formal speech to the Israeli-American and Jewish community since his unsuccessful run against Obama in 2012, and marked Lieberman's first address to the Israeli-American community.
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