Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans blasted the president for failing to contain Iran's nuclear aspirations in the wake of highly incendiary anti-Israel remarks from the Iranian leadership this week.
In a nationally televised speech at Tehran University Friday, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "cancerous tumor" infecting Palestinian land, adding one day there would be a Middle East without American or "Zionist" intruders.
"The very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to humankind and an affront to all world nations," Ahmadinejad said Friday, as supporters chanted "Death to America! Death to Israel!"
"Confronting Zionists will also pave the way for saving the whole humankind from exploitation, depravity and misery," said the Iranian leader, infamous for his anti-Semitic rants denying the Holocaust and threatening Israel with total destruction.
Earlier in the week, Iranian supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there would be a time in the future when Israel would not exist and the land would return to Palestinians.
The remarks have garnered widespread condemnation around the world, from the United Nations General Secretary to President Barack Obama, who called them "offensive and reprehensible."
But U.S. Republicans took the remarks a step further Saturday, saying the virulent rhetoric - as well as no sign of a cessation in Iran's nuclear aspirations - show the president has been weak on Middle East policy.
"Ahmadinejad's incendiary comments are just another warning that a fuse is burning and that we need to do everything possible to stop Iran from acquiring the capability to build nuclear weapons that can destroy cities and cause unspeakable horror," House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fl., said in a statement Saturday.
"Given the Obama Administration's track record in dealing with rogue regimes, I have many serious concerns about this administration's Iran policy...By wasting precious time, his policies have placed the security of the state of Israel in jeopardy," she added.
Romney running mate Paul Ryan also issued a simultaneous statement Saturday.
"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," Ryan said.
In a trip to Israel last month, Romney made clear he would advance a tough Iran policy as president. However, a gaffe seeming to state Palestine was poor and less developed than Israel because of "culture" drew attention away from these statements.
The former Massachusetts governor has been trying to regain ground on foreign policy ever since, with no improvement in sight. Although Romney polls well on economic issues, he has consistently been rated much lower on foreign policy stances than the president.
by RTT Staff Writer
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