Transcript: ABC News' David Muir Interviews Mitt Romney

ABC News Anchor David Muir sits down with Mitt Romney in Israel

ByABC News
July 29, 2012, 12:21 PM

July 29th, 2012— -- David Muir: Governor thank you for doing this

Mitt Romney: Thank you David

Muir: As we sit here in beautiful Jerusalem 100 days to go are you going to win this thing?

Romney: You know, I'm not talking politics right here today but obviously I'm encouraged by the campaign but today being in the holy city my thoughts are on the great promises that have been made here, the people who gather here of multiple faiths and my desire to see those people see each other as being brothers and sisters and come together in peace.

Muir: Let's talk about the news that came out of Israel today on Iran, some strong words expected from you in that speech. One of your advisors said of you today that you would respect Israel's decision to strike Iran on its own. Would you support an Israeli strike on Iran?

Romney: I think I'll use my own terms in that regard and that is that I recognize the right of Israel to defend itself. At the same time we are two nations, both committed to employing every means we have to keep Iran from pursuing their nuclear folly and that means every diplomatic course, economic forces as well, sanctions are beginning to have a greater impact on Iran we want to execute all of these elements of soft power if you will but of course we maintain all options. If all of our political and economic options fail we of course retain military options as well.

Muir: What about the option of the Israeli strike, unilaterally, would you support that?

Romney: Again, I think I've said what I wanted to say on that front which is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself and America always on the side of Israel but I'm not going to be more specific than that with regards to the actions Israel might take but we have a full range of options to dissuade Iran from doing something which is unimaginable and unacceptable.

Muir: You talk about some of those options, diplomacy, tough sanctions, it sounds a lot like what we hear from the Obama administration.

Romney: You know I gave an address five years ago at the Herizleya conference in Tel Aviv and laid out 7 steps that I thought needed to be taken to dissuade Iran from becoming nuclear. It's taken a long time for some of those steps to be executed some are still not yet executed. Being on foreign soil, I simply don't want to attack the president or his policies and nor make new foreign policy but I indicated a number of things that I thought were important at that point, the fact that we have sanctions now three and a half years into the president's term is in my estimation a positive thing I would have liked to see them earlier as my speech at Herzliya indicated.

Muir: You've talked about back in the states, I know that you are on foreign soil but you have been critical before with the presidents timetable to pull US troops out of Afghanistan and in your recent speech before the VFW you said you wanted to complete the transition by 2014 is that the same time frame?