WASHINGTON (JTA) — Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy said Mitt Romney’s gibes at President Obama’s Iran policy were irresponsible.
"This means to an Iranian, if you will wait until another few months and there is a change in the White House, then maybe there will be trouble, so the lesson is, let’s redouble our efforts to do it as quickly as we can," Halevy said in an interview with The Huffington Post posted Wednesday. "In the effort to demolish the president he is making the situation worse."
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and front-runner for the Republican presidential nod, has described Obama’s efforts to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon as feckless, most recently in a Washington Post op-ed.
"I will buttress my diplomacy with a military option that will persuade the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions," Romney wrote. "Only when they understand that at the end of that road lies not nuclear weapons but ruin will there be a real chance for a peaceful resolution."
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, took to the floor to deliver a blistering attack on Romney for his op-ed.
"Talk has consequences, and idle talk of war only helps Iran by spooking the tight oil market and increasing the price of the Iranian crude that pays for its nuclear program," Kerry said.
Romney is not the only GOP candidate scoring Obama for his handling of Iran. He and Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, made such attacks the centerpieces of their addresses this week to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Gingrich said that as president he would not expect Israel to warn him of an attack on Iran.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has clashed with Obama on Israel-Palestinian issues, said in a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee that the president’s efforts to isolate Iran have paid off and do not merit the GOP shots.
"Some of the Republican candidates for president have been misrepresenting the president’s unwavering commitment to Israel and stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," he said. "And I find, on something as important as this, when the safety of millions of Israelis and of the whole world hangs in the balance, to be so blatantly political is something that is just so uncalled for."
The Romney campaign has charted what it says is evidence of Obama’s reluctance to confront Iran but did not respond to requests for comment on the Halevy criticism.