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Romney calls Iran ‘irrational

Mitt Romney outlined his plans for countering Iran’s nuclear program and the threat of jihad in a Thursday night speech to a Yeshiva University audience.Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, called for tightening sanctions on Iran, isolating it diplomatically, enlisting the support of Arab states and reaching out to the Iranian people. He said Iranian President Mahhmoud Ahmadinejad leads an “irrational regime” and accused him of “conditioning minds to acquiesce in the elimination of a people,” referring to Ahmadinejad’s threats to destroy Israel. Speaking in New York at the 20th anniversary dinner for Y.U.’s Sy Syms School of Business, Romney, a former CEO of the private investment firm Bain & Company, said his political strategy was modeled on his successful business practices. With slides projected on a screen behind him, Romney called the threat of jihad, and the related risk of nuclear terrorism, the most critical challenge of our time. To counter it, he proposed increasing annual defense spending by $40 billion to $50 billion, adding 100,000 military personnel and making the United States energy-independent. He also called for strengthening alliances and beefing up America’s non-military activities abroad. The jihadist threat “cannot be appeased,” Romney said. “It can only be defeated.”