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TAMPA — President Obama has empowered Iran’s nuclear ambitions through fruitless negotiations that could ultimately jeopardize the safety of Israel, Republican National Convention (RNC) delegates say.
Iran’s genocidal rhetoric has not stopped the president from extending the olive branch in hopes that the rogue country will shut down its clandestine uranium enrichment program.
Obama “hasn’t done enough” to stymie Iran’s efforts, said John Macy, a Wisconsin delegate to the 2012 RNC in Tampa. “I’m concerned that under his presidency they’ll get the bomb and he’ll have to live with that for the rest of his life.”
“I don’t know what he’s done,” said Macy, explaining that his worry centers on the president’s hesitance to discuss Iran publicly.
“I don’t think he’s covered it much,” said Jonathan Mitchell, an alternative delegate from Massachusetts. “He hasn’t focused on it.”
“It’s something he has not really spoken about,” said Colorado delegate Jon Warnick.
Doyle Webb of Arkansas slowly shook his head as he gave “the president a very low rating on his handling of Iran.” Economic sanctions on Iran “have not worked” despite the administration’s ongoing insistence otherwise, noted Webb, chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party.
“Israel must feel like it’s on an island with how little support it’s getting from the president,” said Brian O’Connor, a delegate from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Obama is “fiddling while they keep building.”
“Our most sacred ally Israel could be in danger and has been threatened to be wiped from the map” by Iran’s leaders, Webb told the Free Beacon on the bustling convention floor. “A line in the sand should be drawn.”
Delegate Tom Lundstrum noted that sanctions—which the Obama campaign regularly touts as “the toughest ever”—have failed to convince Iran that the U.S. means business.
“I don’t believe sanctions have worked at all or will work and my gut tells me the Israelis will have to take care of it,” said Lundstrum, also an Arkansas delegate.
Lundstrum, like others, wondered why Team Obama has openly criticized Israel.
“There should be no space between the U.S. and Israel,” Lundstrum said. “There’s a light of light. If I was the Israelis, I’d be highly offended.”
Wisconsin delegate Sue Lynch said she is disappointed that the president has not staunchly defended Israel in the court of public opinion, as Iran’s rhetoric grows increasingly pointed.
“We have to reinforce it: Israel is our ally,” Lynch said. “President Obama should stand up and reinforce it. He hasn’t taken a firm stand to demonstrate Israel is our ally.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has categorically stated that the Obama administration’s sanctions regime has failed.
“I certainly respect the Israeli intelligence,” said Arkansas delegate Webb. “They’ve worked in the area and we should be listening to their concerns and be supportive of whatever action they deem appropriate.
Others speculated that Israel may have to launch an attack on Israel without American support—a circumstance several delegates never imagined possible.
“Israel cannot afford” to let Iran successfully build a nuclear-armed weapon, said Virginia’s O’Connor. “It’s a shame for [Israel] to be ignored; it’s a travesty.”
Obama is attempting to postpone the problematic Iran issue until after the election, others noted.
“It’s a shame when politics gets in the way of doing the right thing for our ally,” said Tim Reith, also a Virginia-based delegate.
Not everyone believes that Iran poses a threat, however.
“We shouldn’t be the policeman of the world,” said Taylor Woodard, an alternative delegate from Vermont, echoing the rhetoric of Rep. Ron Paul. “If they want to build weapons, they’re not going to attack us.”
“I don’t worry about the nuclear issue,” Woodard said.
Such views, however, fell into the minority of conventioneers, many of whom echoed the sentiments of Arkansas Republican Party leader Webb, who asked, “If we can’t stand behind Israel, who can we stand behind?”