PolitiFact: Romney ‘mostly false’ on Iran claims


I’ve covered this territory repeatedly, but now PolitiFact weighs in: The claim by Mitt Romney that President Obama has not imposed crippling sanctions on Iran, and that the sanctions he has imposed were at Congress’ behest, is "mostly false."

Here’s the summary:

Mitt Romney said, "this president … could have gotten crippling sanctions against Iran. He did not." The reality is that a combination of international and U.S. efforts are now in place that some consider crippling to Iran’s economy. Romney’s campaign argues he was specifically referring to a failure to get the United Nations to enact sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank in 2010. But some experts argue he couldn’t have achieved tougher U.N. sanctions, given opposition from Russia and China. Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign argues Obama hasn’t fully supported U.S. sanctions against Iran. It’s true that Obama resisted Congress dictating the administration’s strategy. But that’s not support for the statement that he "could have gotten crippling sanctions against Iran" but "did not." We rate Romney’s statement Mostly False.

The body of the assessment delves a little deeper into the congressional piece of the allegation, and this is what the experts say (and what I’ve noted): Obama’s resistance is not to sanctions, but to congressional preeminence in foreign policy:

[Michael] Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations says that’s not evidence of a weak stance on Iran or sanctions — but resistance to letting Congress dictate the terms.

"This is the sort of thing where there are so many variables that any rigid set of rules is almost certain to miss certain … elements of reality," he said. "Flexibility is the watchword. It’s really hard to argue that this administration hasn’t brought strong pressure to bear on Iran."

Recommended from JTA