(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul said the United States shouldn't rule out the containment of Iran’s nuclear program.
The Kentucky Republican is sticking to his guns on the issue that left him standing alone as the sole Senate vote against a 2012 resolution to pursue a policy other than containment, if necessary, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
In an interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl that aired Sunday on the network, Paul said “all options should be on the table” when it comes to controlling the country's nuclear ambitions.
President Barack Obama and his administration have said their strategic objective is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, not just to contain its program should it get such a weapon.
Paul underscored his repeated votes for sanctions against Iran, stopping short of saying that the United States should focus efforts on containment, but pointed to other countries that have acquired nuclear weapons.
"They said containment will never, ever, ever, ever be our policy. We woke up one day, and Pakistan had nuclear weapons - if that would have been our policy with Pakistan, we would have been at war with Pakistan. We woke up one day, and China had nuclear weapons. We woke up one day, and Russia had them," he said.
"The people who say, ‘By golly, we will never stand for that,’ they are voting for war."
In September 2012, Paul voted against Senate Joint Resolution 41, which rejected "any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran." The resolution passed the Senate.
In his opposition on the Senate floor he said, "A vote for this resolution is a vote for the concept of pre-emptive war," a point that he reiterated in the ABC interview.
Karl pressed the question of whether the United States could live with a nuclear Iran, and Paul suggested it would be a mistake to rule it out.
"I think it's not a good idea to announce that in advance. Should I announce to Iran, well, we don't want you to, but we'll live with it? No that's a dumb idea to say that you're going to live with it. However, the opposite's a dumb idea too," he said.
Paul is openly considering a bid for the White House in 2016. He said a final decision on whether to launch a campaign will come after the 2014 elections, – a similar timeline that other potential 2016 hopefuls have given.
Paul's interview with ABC came after he joined a flock of Republicans with presidential aspirations in New Hampshire on Saturday to speak to Granite State conservatives at Americans for Prosperity’s Freedom Summit.
Paul's stance on this foreign policy issue is just one in a series of topics on which he splits from his party. He's garnered support for his willingness to buck the GOP but also has drawn the ire of some establishment Republicans.
Liz Cheney - daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who Paul has suggested exploited the Iraq War for his own financial benefit - recently said libertarian-leaning senator gets his foreign policy talking points from the left.
"She is not my biggest champion, so that's kind of a funny remark, I think," Paul said, laughing off the dig. "I would say my foreign policy is right there with what came out of Ronald Reagan.”