March 6th, 2012
04:09 PM ET
6 years ago

Paul calls GOP positions on Iran 'reckless'

(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.

Also see:

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Santorum fires back at Obama over Israel claim

Filed under: 2012 • Iran • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Republicans • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Drafter31

    They are wreckless, even Netanyahu said that there is no need for Israel to attack right now...Neither should the United States......Vote for Dr. Ron Paul...

    March 6, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Jim

    Ron Paul's position on Iran is reckless and dangerous. So there.

    March 6, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Eric

    Ron Paul 2012!

    March 6, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Emmy Skaddittle

    Obamas position is correct always negotiate first

    March 6, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Sticking ones head in the sand and ignoring reality is also very dangerous. Ron Paul would guarantee a world FULL of nuclear weapons. Very safe indeed.

    March 6, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Ron Paul would have made a wonderful " America First" supporter, right up until December 7th, 1941.

    March 6, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. cali girl

    Way to go Paul, the only one of the GOP going out against the party line. Now is not the time to go after Iran, and thank you for saying that. Obama is right. There are a many, many people who are top brass who advise Obama on the state of affairs. Very smart people, like Paul said, CIA, Foreign Heads, our military leaders, Generals, and all kinds who weigh in on the facts. For all you bloggers out there who agree with your GnOP buddies that we should bomb Iran, then please defer your comments to the people who's job it is to know the facts.

    March 6, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Surprise, surprise, surprise, Sgt. Carter. Dr. Paul is correct. The other candidates are reckless. They are putting our troops in the field in greater harm's way. Their positions are not well thought out. What happens if Iran launches a counter attack? or even worse, what if someone joins in on the side of the Iranians with counter attacks?

    What happens if an initial attack does not do what it was assumed it would do? Wouldn't Iran be justified in launching an attack of their own? Even a nuclear attack?

    Dr. Paul is being polite. The other candidates are way past reckless. They are thoughtless.

    March 6, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I really doubt that the single issue anti abortion candidates the GOP has running are prepared to deal with foreign policy, as they are busy trying to get their head near female parts.

    March 6, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Dr

    You sir are the last hope!

    March 6, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. ja

    paul is correct the gop is armchair president, without real responsibility

    March 6, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. jkv372

    No more war please. We can't afford it anymore. Vote for Ron Paul....he is the only person that wants peace.

    March 6, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. kayla

    you can't teach intelligence, you have to have it.
    thank you, president obama

    March 6, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Ron Paul is right.
    These "men" seem to think that this situation with Iran is some kind of joke, an opportunity for them to further demonstrate to the country,indeed, to the world, why they are NOT equipped with the gravitas,intelligence, diplomacy, and just plain commonsense to lead our nation anywhere but over a cliff.
    This is NOT another opportunity for the Four Clowns of the Apocalypse (minus Paul) to start shooting their traps off. Seriously. This is where grown men, patriots, citizens of this country shut the f up and stand by their President and our diplomatic corps. And pray that another conflict is not unleashed on our weary earth, and our weary and overtaxed armed forces.
    Please people. What is wrong with these folks?

    March 6, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. James Tran

    It's true that it is dangerous to "stick ones head in the sand." Paul suggests we rely on diplomacy rather than occupation to deal with threats to this country, not to mention the fact that having the troops back home would allow for a military four-times its current size. It's also dangerous to have events like 9/11 happening because of blowback generated by us occupying other countries (one of the reasons stated in the 9/11 commission report).

    March 6, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So Ron Paul is proposing that we nuke Iran AFTER they drop a nuke on Israel? Yeah, sounds like a wonderful plan to me. Oivay....

    March 6, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    I'm a "Christian under construction" but I believe in ONE God, and I pray to that God to put the right words in our President's mouth, the right thoughts in the leaders of these countries, and grant us a peaceful resolution.
    No more wars. No more death. Peace.

    March 6, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. chill

    Here's the thing. Sanctions imposed by just the US will not have an effect. We don't buy their oil or much of anything else now. So unless we can bring a good chunk of the rest of the world with us, they certainly will not be effective. Being as ready to start a war as talk is not a comforting thought Mr. Romney. Thank God you were not in power during the Cold War. And by the way, the atomic bomb is what, 70 year old technology? It is still tricky and still expensive, but to think anyone who wants one can't ultimately get one is naive. Who's nuttier than Kim Jong Whatever and we haven't heard that the GOP will start bombing North Korea as soon as they take over.

    March 6, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    James Tran
    It's true that it is dangerous to "stick ones head in the sand." Paul suggests we rely on diplomacy rather than occupation to deal with threats to this country, not to mention the fact that having the troops back home would allow for a military four-times its current size. It's also dangerous to have events like 9/11 happening because of blowback generated by us occupying other countries (one of the reasons stated in the 9/11 commission report).
    Iran provides weapons and funding to numerous terrorist organizations, many of which target and kill Americans. Iran is lead by religious fanatics whose religion is based on the belief that their Imam will return when great disasters occur on Earth. Iran's leader has openly stated his desire to wipe Israel off the map. Negotiations have been going on for YEARS, with no positive outcome. Iran is lying and running out the clock until it has a nuke, just like North Korea did. We have already seen this movie. Just not the horrific ending. I doubt Israel is willing to watch the ending either since it will be the end of them.

    March 6, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Fla Pete

    God help us if any of these nitwits had their hands on the trigger.We would be in a nuclear war at the drop of a pin.These neanderthals,who none had ever been in ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE have no idea about war,they've seen it on tv,but nothing else..These candidates would take to the hills or pee in their pants if someone shot back,it ain't a game.Once you push THAT BUTTON you're in,no turning back.Like Hiroshima and Nagasaki,you think Truman slept that night knowing 130,000 died with his approval as President to drop the first nuclear bombs on a country during war.These cowards would commit suicide after making a decision half as dangerous,they're spinless and stupid ,what a combination...

    March 6, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. American

    Paul is correct.

    Neo-Con Romney speaks recklessly & irresponsibly about Iran while acting as a coward with regards to Limbaugh. No credibility.

    March 6, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    @ chill:
    So unless we can bring a good chunk of the rest of the world with us, they certainly will not be effective.
    What you say makes sense. Based on how well received and respected our President is abroad, I think he can be the one to bring the rest of the world on board to help Iran stand down so to speak. He was quite successful in bringing about an international coalition in regards to the conflict in Lybia. I think that he can do it again chill.
    It appears that with all of the socio-economic strife currently abounding worldwide the only idiots who want to start yet another armed conflict are our local yokels running for the GOP nomination.

    March 6, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. mary

    I am voting for Obama in the fall (born and bred democrat here), but I do like Ron Paul. I am fairly liberal, but I respect Paul because he is a REAL conservative: he believes in tending his own garden and staying out of other people's underwear. Furthermore, he is saying on the campaign trail what he really believes and not what he thinks will excite the masses this week. That's why he's the only republican candidate whose supporters are really excited.

    March 6, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Stacey

    Can't believe I'm saying this but Ron Paul is right. The other three candidates are talking reckless and do sound like warmonging cowboys. The GOP just wants something to brag about. The widdle boys feel left out in the cold. War and protecting the rich – that's all the GOP seems to stand for. Disgusting!

    March 6, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    "Ron Paul's position on Iran is reckless and dangerous. So there."

    "Ron Paul's position on Iran is the sanest compared ot the GOBP;s dangerous approach. So there."

    There, FIFY.

    March 6, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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