(CNN) – Ron Paul said Tuesday that his rivals have "blown way out of proportion" the Iranian nuclear threat and that their language is "reckless" and "dangerous."
On the same day as his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination argued their Iran policies would be tougher than those under President Barack Obama, the Texas congressman suggested their rhetoric borders on warmongering, and that his stance is closer to that of Obama.
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"He certainly is closer to my position than the other candidates because what the other Republicans are saying is very reckless," Paul said on an interview to air on CNN's John King, USA. "There is no evidence whatsoever that the Iranians have or are on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, according to our own military people, our own CIA, according to the UN."
Paul did not speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee –which heard from Obama on Sunday, and GOPers Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich on Tuesday. He clarified that he "doesn't want them [Iran] to have a weapon," but said the others are "so anxious to go to war."
"So I think the war drums are beating much louder than they need to be," Paul told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "We need to defend our country, but we don't need to be the aggressor nation and when you start bombing countries and when you start preemptive war you leap over into this thing called aggression."
President Obama said at White House press conference on Tuesday that he, US intelligence officials, and Israeli intelligence officers see "a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically."
But Republicans criticized the president for being weak.
"We need to set forth a clear ultimatum to the Iranian government," Santorum, a former US senator from Pennsylvania, said at the AIPAC conference. "We need to say to the Iranian government, the time is now. You will stop your nuclear production now. You will open up your facilities for inspectors from the United States and other countries so we can certify that those efforts are stopping and being dismantled. Now."
Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, said as president he would "not delay imposing further crippling sanctions" upon Iran.
"I will make sure Iran knows of the very real peril that awaits it if it becomes nuclear. I will engage Iran's neighbors. I will station multiple aircraft carriers and warships at Iran's door. I will stand with the Syrian people who are being mercilessly slaughtered," he said. "As president I will be ready to engage in diplomacy but I will be just as ready to engage our military might."
Gingrich said that "failure to stop their program is in fact crossing a red line" and would have consequences.
Obama said the Republican contenders' rhetoric is "more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem."
"Now, what's said on the campaign trail, you know, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities," he said at the press conference. "They're not Commander-in-chief. And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. I'm reminded of the decision that I have to make, in terms of sending our young men and women into battle and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy. This is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it."
Paul said he sees similarities between the Iran discourse and the statement by Sen. John McCain of Arizona that the US should use airstrikes to stop the carnage in Syria.
The conversations surrounding both countries, he said, are similar to those preceding the US invasion of Iraq, which he argued was a mistake.