Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has said that, contrary to critics of his foreign policy, he does not want Iran to get a nuclear bomb.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union this Sunday, Congressman Paul said that bi-partisan applause during US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech for declaring “no options are off the table” in preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons was for the “goal,” and not the means.
“That would be my goal, too,” Congressman Paul said. “I don’t want them [the Iranians] to have a nuclear weapon, it’s just the approach” in preventing Iran from going after nuclear weapons capability.
Congressman Paul went on to clarify that sanctions and refusing to talk to Iran are the wrong way to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. “I always think that the biggest danger is over-reaction,” he said, adding that sanctions “literally enhance the power of the Ayatollahs” and only polarize sides by instilling nationalist fervor among Iranians against America and the West.
“My argument is, when the Soviets [during the height of the Cold War] had 30,000 of these [nuclear weapons], we didn’t take talking to them off the table, or even with the Chinese,” Paul noted. “We started talking to them and started trading with them, and the results were much better.”
“I think they [the Obama administration] unfortunately have taken something off the table, and we ought to reassess this aggressive approach to them.”
Congressman Paul has been roundly condemned and even vilified by some in his own party for his insistence that talks with Iran should be used instead of sanctions. During one Republican presidential debate last August, he even went so far as to take the devil’s advocate role in arguing why the Islamic Republic would want to get nuclear weapons.
Iran has publicly insisted it is pursuing nuclear capability for peaceful purposes only.
Congressman Paul said he has not thought about who he would pick as his Secretary of State, should he win the presidency.