Texas Congressman Ron Paul said today he would use “friendship” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
With the International Atomic Energy Agency set to release a report this week suggesting that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, the Republican presidential candidate warned against overreaction, insisting that Iran is not a credible threat to the United States.
“Iranians can’t make enough gasoline for themselves,” Paul said on Fox News Sunday. “For them to be a threat to us and to anyone in the region, I think it’s blown out of proportion.”
Paul said he believes people are too eager to use violence against Iran. Paul opposes a bill passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, which would strengthen sanctions against Iran. “When you put on strong sanctions, those are acts of war,” Paul said.
Asked by host Chris Wallace how he would persuade Iran not to build a nuclear weapon if he opposed the use of sanctions or military force, Paul responded, “maybe offering friendship to them.”
Paul took a similarly reluctant view of the use of force when Wallace asked him about the use of drones to attack leaders of Al Qaeda. Paul said he opposes the killing of enemy leaders with drones, including those in Pakistan. “Sometimes they miss, sometimes there’s collateral damage. Every time we do that, we’re making more enemies,” he said.
Paul’s views on Iran and Pakistan are emblematic of the type of isolationist foreign policy that has made many conservative Republicans wary of Paul, even if he shares many of their views on cutting spending and limiting the role of government. Paul acknowledged that his views are different than other GOP candidates today when he refused to say unequivocally that he would support the Republican nominee for president.
Asked whether he would commit to supporting the Republican nominee, Paul responded “probably not.” “If they believe in expanding the wars, if they don’t believe in looking at the Federal Reserve, if they don’t believe in real cuts, if they don’t believe in deregulations and a better tax system, it would defy everything I believe in,” Paul said. “Therefore I would be reluctant to jump on board and tell all the supporters who have given me trust and money, all of sudden say ‘Oh, all we’ve done is for naught.”
That said, Paul ruled out an independent third party bid for president, simply because “I don’t want to do it.”
On domestic policy, Paul may also make waves with his statements that the nation should “wean ourselves off” supporting the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control because scientific research and development should not be done by government. Both government agencies play a major role in research in the Boston area.
“You’d have much more R&D and it would be better-directed if investors and the marketplace make these decisions,” Paul said. “The politicians and bureaucrats are not smart enough to know what you should be invested in.”