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Mitt Romney backs Israel to the hilt

July 29, 2012 20:56 IST

Looking to woo pro-Israel and Jewish voters back home, White House hopeful Mitt Romney took an aggressive stand against Iran, calling it an "incomparable" threat to the world and suggesting he would even back Israel's unilateral strike against the country.

In Israel to present his foreign policy credentials, Romney strongly backed the Jewish state contention that a nuclear Iran led by an Ayatollah regime is the greatest danger facing the world.

While he termed Iran an "unprecedented" threat, a senior aide of his said the former Massachusetts governor would back Israel if it were to decide it had to use military force to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

"If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision," Romney's senior national security aide Dan Senor told reporters traveling with the candidate.

The stand contradicts US President Barack Obama's attempts to convince Israel to avoid any pre-emptive attack.

Urging for a "strong and credible" military threat to deter Iran from acquiring nuclear capability, Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Romney that diplomacy and sanctions leveled against the Islamic Republic have failed to bring desirable results.

"I heard some of your remarks and you said that the greatest danger facing the world is the Ayatollah regime possessing nuclear weapons capability," Netanyahu said.

"Mitt, I couldn't agree with you more, and I think it is important to do everything in our power to prevent the ayatollahs from possessing that capability. We have to be honest and say that all the diplomacy and sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian programme by one iota," the Israeli premier added.

Harinder Mishra in Jerusalem
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