Top Romney surrogate Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) tried to spin the news that Iran had finally agreed to hold nuclear negotiations with the U.S. as a failure on the part of the Obama administration and as an indication that Obama was willing to, “abandon our allies” in favor of Iran.
Portman at first dismissed wholesale Obama’s handling of Iran, saying that the president had brought the nation, “four years closer to [war].” And despite the report of potential nuke talks, Portman insisted that Obama’s policies have been a complete failure.
“What the president has tried hasn’t worked,” he said.
Yet pivoting from that, Portman said that if the latest report—which the White House has marginally denied—turns out to be true, it would represent an effort by Obama to unilaterally address the situation at the expense of our partners in the region.
“If it’s accurate, it sounds like the US is taking a position where we’re likely to jettison our allies,” he said. ”The last thing we would want to do is abandon our allies in this, and to make it a one-on-one negotiation.”
The New York Times reported Saturday that U.S. officials and Iran had agreed to hold negotiations about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a significant advance given Iran’s refusal to hold such talks in the past. According to the Times, the two countries have been working toward such an agreement for nearly the entirety of Obama’s presidency.
Romney has repeatedly criticized Obama for, he claims, being weak on Iran and leaving Israel vulnerable to attack. However, when pressed for specifics, Romney’s policies with respect to Iran have either remained vague or proven strikingly similar to Obama’s. Romney, like Obama, has said he would not tolerate a nuclear Iran. And Romney has said he would impose sanctions against Iran were he president—something Obama has already done.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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