(Newsroom America) -- A top foreign policy adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Sunday that the former Massachusetts governor would respect an Israeli decision to unilaterally strike neighboring Iran in a bid to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The aide, who was outlining the tough stance Romney took against Iran in a speech later Sunday, reiterated Romney's previous stance, in which the candidate has said he has a "zero tolerance" policy towards Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.
"If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing the capability, the governor would respect that decision," foreign policy adviser Dan Senor told reporters ahead of Romney's speech in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem.
He said Romney was careful to note he believes in preventing nuclear "capability," not simply obtaining a weapon.
"Gov. Romney believes we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is his fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded," Senor said.
President Barack Obama has also acknowledged Israel's right to self-defense but has warned of the consequences in the region of a unilateral Israeli strike.
U.S. diplomatic and military officials have alternately spoken about how difficult such a mission would be to carry out and what effect it would have on an already volatile region.
Iran, for its part, has threatened massive retaliation, including blocking the strategic Strait of Hormuz, where much of the world's oil traverses.
Obama has not ruled out the military option but has expressed caution.
Still, Romney's efforts to reach out to the Jewish state seem, at least in part, aimed at countering what many believe is the Obama administration's habitual dismissal of Israel.
For instance, just last week Jay Carney, the president's spokesman, refused to name Israel's capital when questioned by reporters.
Also, Israel was excluded from a U.S.-sponsored Global Terrorism Forum in Spain earlier this month in a snub that brought strong condemnation from religious and diplomatic circles.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a strongly worded letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said that “when there was criticism following your announcement of the creation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which excluded Israel, I accepted the administration’s assurances that a way would be found to involve Israel.
"But after reading the Victims of Terrorism comments from the undersecretary of civilian security democracy and human rights, I’m prepared to believe that Israel is being left out intentionally," he said.
In his speech, Romney made clear his suspicion of Iran's ultimate intentions.
"Make no mistake: the ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way," he said. "My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agrees with Romney's assessment.
"We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota. And that's why I believe that we need a strong and credible military threat coupled with the sanctions to have a chance to change that situation," he said.
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