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Israel: Romney backpedals on support for Israeli strike on Iran

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he respects Israel's right to defend itself, but seemed to back off on suggestion that he would support a unilateral military strike.

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Mitt Romney spoke to veterans before kicking off a six-day foreign trip to England, Israel and Poland. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he respects Israel's right to defend itself, but seemed to back off on the suggestion that he would support a unilateral military strike on Iran, the Washington Post reported.

"I respect the right of Israel to defend itself," Romney said in an interview with CBS News in Jerusalem. "We stand with Israel. We're two nations that come together in peace and we want to see Iran dissuaded from its nuclear folly."

More from GlobalPost: Mr. Romney goes to Israel

Romney's foreign policy adviser Dan Senor earlier suggested his boss would back Israeli military action against Tehran, according to the Post.

“It is an existential threat and we in the West partnering with Israel should do everything we can from stopping Iran from developing that weapons capability,” Senor said. “And if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision.”

When asked, point blank by CBS' Jan Crawford during an interview Sunday if he would support Israel's bombing of Iran, Romney replied "Because I am on foreign soil, I don't want to be creating new foreign policy, for my country,  or in anyway distance myself from the foreign policy of our nation, but we respect the right of a nation to defend itself."

More from GlobalPost: Romney camp highlights 'Anglo-Saxon' bond with Britain

Romney met with Israeli leaders and visited the Western Wall on Sunday, wearing a yarmulke, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Romney as "a representative of the United States" and said he agreed with his comments on the Iranian nuclear threat.

"Mitt, I couldn't agree with you more," Netanyahu said, according to the AP.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120729/israel-romney-backpedals-support-israe