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Romney pulls back from aggressive statement on Iran

'I don't want to be creating new foreign policy for my country,' Romney said, distancing himself from remarks made by an aide earlier today saying he would 'respect' an Israeli military strike on Iran.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is presented with a booklet as he visits the Western Wall, in Jerusalem July 29.

Dan Balilty/AP

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Mitt Romney tried to pull back Sunday from an adviser's suggestion that he favored new American aggression on Iran, distancing himself from comments that the U.S. presidential candidate would "respect" an Israeli decision for unilateral military action to prevent Tehran from gaining nuclear capability.

Hours after the aide previewed Romney's upcoming foreign policy speech in Jerusalem, Romney backpedaled and said, "I'll use my own words and that is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself and we stand with Israel. We're two nations that come together in peace and that want to see Iran being dissuaded from its nuclear folly."

The address by the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama was promoted as the centerpiece of a weeklong trip abroad designed to burnish his foreign policy credentials and highlight his ability to lead on the world stage. But the mixed signals on Iran could undermine that goal.

"Because I'm on foreign soil, I don't want to be creating new foreign policy for my country or in any way to distance myself from the foreign policy of our nation, but we respect the right of a nation to defend itself," the former Massachusetts governor told CBS' "Face the Nation" a few hours before the speech and a day before a major fundraiser in the city.

Obama has affirmed the right of Israel to defend itself, while also warning of the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran.

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