At a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, which coincided with the Super Tuesday primaries, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused President Barack Obama of appeasement of Iran and urged an ultimatum demanding that it put a stop to its nuclear production immediately, or the US will “tear down” its plants.
“I have seen a president who has been reticent. He says he has Israel’s back. From everything I’ve seen he has turned his back on” Israel, Santorum told AIPAC.
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich took a break from their race for votes in the high-stakes primaries to speak to the pro-Israel lobby. Romney and Gingrich appeared by satellite, while Santorum spoke to the group in person.
“We need to do more than talk,” Santorum insisted, voicing his mistrust of the announcement by the US and five other powers that they will resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program in the near future.
“We need to say to the Iranian government, the time is now. You will stop your nuclear production now,” he said to a cheering crowd that was showing a great deal more enthusiasm than they had when President Obama was in the house.
GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, at his own appearance before the AIPAC crowd, also mocked Obama’s promises that the United States “will always have Israel’s back” on issues of security, particularly the Iranian nuclear threat.
“Hope is not a foreign policy,” Romney said, speaking from Ohio, where he was campaigning. “The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.”
Ron Paul, who proclaims an isolationist foreign policy position, did not request an appearance at the conference.
AP reported Tuesday that the head of the U.N. nuclear agency Saeed Jalili said his organization has “serious concerns” that Iran may be hiding secret atomic weapons work.
But on Tuesday Iranian news agency Mehr said Iran would grant U.N. inspectors access to the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran where the nuclear agency suspects secret atomic work has been carried out.
The statement explained that Parchin is a military site and accessing it is a time-consuming process, and therefore, visits cannot be allowed frequently. However, an access to the site will be given once again “after a modality is worked out.”
It was also mentioned that Parchin was inspected by the agency twice in 2005.
Tehran had previously banned UN inspectors from visiting the Parchin facility, which is why Jalili and his researchers left the country recently.