The Washington Post

Romney won’t give on Iran-Syria “route to the sea”

The fact-checkers went wild Monday night when GOP challenger Mitt Romney said once again that “Syria is Iran’s . . . route to the sea.” Team Obama doubtless was elated by Romney’s geographical goof.

But here at the Loop we felt disheartened, even a bit defeated. We had tried ever so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that.

Iran, as most anyone knows, has direct access to waterways, we pointed out back then, with about 1,100 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Oman and the entire northern coastline of the Persian Gulf. (Remember how Iran’s always threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz?)

But worse yet, Iran doesn’t even share a border with Syria, so this “route to the sea” actually means going overland through Iraq and then Syria to get to the Mediterranean. The journey from Tehran to Damascus is about 1,000 miles.

And once the Iranians get there, they’ll find Syria has only a measly 111 miles of coastline.

In March, after Romney had said the “route to the sea” stuff five more times, Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler weighed in but didn’t think it “worthy of a Pinocchio rating — unless we create a category for weird language.”

Well, we did our best.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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