Obama vs. Romney 101: 3 ways they differ on Iran

For his pursuit of diplomacy with Iran, President Obama has reaped a sputtering international diplomatic effort to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program. Rival MItt Romney says a weak Iran policy gave Tehran 3-1/2 years to progress toward “nuclear weapons capability,” but his specifics often don't sound different from Obama's. Here are three areas on Iran where the two do differ.

3. Dialogue or regime change?

Office of the Supreme Leader/AP
In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Iranian top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (l.) delivers a speech on March 8, 2012, welcoming comments by President Obama advocating diplomacy and not war as a solution to Tehran's nuclear ambitions – a rare positive signal in long-standing hostility between Tehran and Washington.

Little is left of Obama’s effort at dialogue with the Iran,  but that is not stopping Romney from citing Obama’s “extended hand” as a misguided show of weakness with America’s adversary. The former Massachusetts governor says Obama was so focused on “outreach” to the Iranian government that he refrained from supporting Iran’s Green Movement in 2009 – “a disgraceful abdication of American moral authority,” he says.

Obama has not spoken about “regime change” in Iran, in part because the term is so closely associated with the George W. Bush presidency, but also because any hint of American support for the Iranian regime’s internal foes risked dooming the international nuclear talks with the Iranians.

Romney shows no such concerns about Iranian sensitivities: He says his administration would work with Iranian civil society and dissident groups “to encourage regime change” in Tehran. In addition, he would seek an international indictment of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for “incitement to genocide” over his past calls for Israel’s annihilation.

For a full list of stories about how Romney and Obama differ on the issues, click here.

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