Rand Paul: Don't dismiss containment option for nuclear Iran
April 13th, 2014
03:57 PM ET
3 months ago

Rand Paul: Don't dismiss containment option for nuclear Iran

(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.”


Filed under: 2016 • Iran • Rand Paul
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    What do you do? Go to war with Iran to loot further? Middle eastern nations are there to tackle. You are not getting their Oil. Why put your nose there and get kicked out? Don't you learn 2 wars that looted this treasury? Nonsense. These idiots want to send poor to war to make money out of "Foreign-Contracts". Pathetic.

    April 13, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. yoonyoungjo

    Its becoming obvious in the age of free information and technology, other countries are going to develop nuclear technology. What the US needs to do now is work on anti nuclear weapons and be even more diligent in safeguarding the US nuclear arsenal. It's also becoming obvious, with countries adamant approach to having nukes, that it provides their countries a type of leverage that is dangerous. That is why N.Korea wants nuclear armament. It's not to defend itself, but rather because it gives them the leverage to behave more heinously. This is the true purpose of some countries who are intent on developing a nuclear arsenal. They believe if they have a nukes then they can so whatever they want.

    April 13, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    This guy knows everything and nothing about everything and nothing.
    We don't want another war, that's a given. If he thinks that by being front and center on every issue is going to make him president. It's NOT!
    I am already sick and tired of seeing him everywhere. He's boring as heck.

    April 13, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Chris-E...al

    No no no Mr. Paul Dont worry Israel will make them see the light around Oct . .

    April 13, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    Give it up Aqua Buddha, the big money in the GOTP is so far out of your reach it might as well be on the moon.

    April 13, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Wouldn't it be easier and more cost effective to invade Mexico ?

    We could make it a 51st state .

    Rick Perry / Randy Paul 2016
    Aqua Buddha Brothers , Gun Safety is using two hands ?

    April 13, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. Concerned citizen

    This man is getting more and more stupid!

    April 13, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. HoleN1

    Paul is not fit to be POTUS, but it's still funny seeing him say things like this about Iran and about Cheney, the war criminal.
    Where's my popcorn...this is going to be entertaining. Krispy Creme, Perry, Bush and Aqua Budda. My oh my, what shall they do..? I

    April 13, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  9. just saying

    iranians laugh at obama and the usa... red lines this, red lines that, all a bunch of hot air from en empty suited community organizer that is in way over his head. the world better be prepared for an iran with a nuclear weapon and the consequences of one of them going off in the middle east. obama is not willing to do anything but bluster and try to run out the clock so he can dump it into the lap of his replacement. why do you think putin is rampaging in ukraine. he knows obama is a joke, as do the iranians.

    April 13, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. Sheila

    Rand Paul is correct. I don't care if he's the only one who is correct, that just means he's the only one who will get my vote.

    April 14, 2014 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  11. salty dog

    I simply don't understand why the conservatives think we have the right to tell other countries they can't do what we already have, if we don't like it,, too fuxin bad. There is much they don't like about us . Our biggest threat is our very own gop, if they gain control and obsolve the rich of having to pay taxes, our government will collapse, what kind of political party wants that for their country? Its there to see, how that doesn't bother people, makes me wonder.

    April 14, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |