Adam Hedengren
Last updated: 23 October, 2012

War or no war – confusing Romney statements on Iran

We all know that Romney has previously shown little restraint when it comes to his statements on Iran. But what really happened in the third and final presidential debate? Some would say his tone had changed.

In a conversation on Face the Nation in June 2012, Romney said the following:

”I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.”

And – as noted by the New York Times – he went straight for the Ayatollahs in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in November 2011:

”Si vis pacem, para bellum. That is a Latin phrase, but the ayatollahs will have no trouble understanding its meaning from a Romney administration: If you want peace, prepare for war.”

But in the final presidential debate on October 22, he appeared with a different set of tactics, leaning more towards the value of diplomacy:

“It is also essential for us to understand what our mission is in Iran, and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means.”

So where does Mitt Romney stand? Should the American people – as well as the Arab world – rely on his more hawkish statements or those we witnessed on Monday?

Adam Hedengren is co-founder and managing editor of Your Middle East. The easiest way to reach him is by sending an email to