America led by Mitt Romney would use “any and all measures” to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the presumed Republican candidate said in a speech delivered in Jerusalem earlier today.
Mr Romney linked America’s foreign interests with those of Israel and declared Jerusalem to be the nation’s capital - a position not held by the current and previous administrations, which have maintained the US embassy in Tel Aviv.
"We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel," he said from a balcony overlooking the Old City.
“We serve the same cause and we provoke the same hatreds in the same enemies.
“With Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel from the north, and Hamas rockets aimed from the south, with much of the Middle East in tumult, and with Iran bent on nuclear arms, America's vocal and demonstrated commitment to the defense of Israel is even more critical,” Mr Romney said.
“Whenever the security of Israel is most in doubt, America's commitment to Israel must be most secure.”
The speech did not mention Palestine.
In keeping with the convention for foreign trips, Mr Romney did not directly criticise President Obama, but electoral politics hovered close throughout the address.Mr Romney has sought to portray himself as tougher on foreign policy than the President, as is common for Republican candidates, and the tone of his speech played to this theme.
He said the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran "has only become worse" in the past five years.
"It is sometimes said that those who are the most committed to stopping the Iranian regime from security nuclear weapons are reckless and provocative and inviting war,” said Mr Romney.
"The opposite is true. We are the true peacemakers," he said.
"Make no mistake, the ayatollahs in Iran are testing our moral defences. They want to know who will object and who will look the other way."
The speech received a standing ovation from an audience of about 500, including Sheldon Adelson, the American casino magnate who has vowed to spend $100 million in donations to defeat Barack Obama.
In an interview with CNN after the speech, Mr Romney again recognised Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.
"A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city, and Jerusalem is Israel's capital,” he said.
"I think it's long been the policy to ultimately have our embassy in the nation's capital of Jerusalem."
As the city is still contested by both Israelis and Palestinians it has not been recognised as Israel’s capital by much of the international community.
Last week the Republican Jewish Coalition has launched an advertising campaign called “My Buyer's Remorse” featuring advertisements in key states in a bid to win Jewish voters from the Democrats.
Earlier Mr Romney visited the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, and met the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Mr Romney’s campaign backed down from banning press from a fundraiser held in Jerusalem for donors who had given $50,000 on their own behalf or raised $100,000.
The campaign had come to a deal with media covering the election three months ago to allow a limited number of reporters into such events after media discovered Mr Romney was saying different things in briefings with donors than he was telling them in public.