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Ron Paul says he would try friendship with Iran.

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul says he would dump sanctions on Iran and extend the hand of friendship if he were president.

In a television interview Sunday on Fox News, Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, accused most Americans of over-reacting to the Islamic Republic and making the problems between the two countries worse.

He said more sanctions were an act of war and not the right way to treat Iran.

Asked what a President Paul would do to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, Paul said, "By a change in foreign policy and treating them differently."

He said, "It may not be true" that the Islamic Republic wants nuclear weapons. "One thing I would caution [about] is an over-reaction.. The worst thing could be an overreaction and to go to war over this."

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Paul said, "When you put on strong sanctions, those are acts of war because we did that in Iraq for 10 years and little kids died, couldn't get medicines and food. It led to war." Most if not all scholars would disagree with Paul's assertion that the imposition of strong sanctions by the United Nations would be an act of war.

His interviewer asked how Paul could expect to dissuade Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon if he wouldn't use sanctions.

"Well, maybe offering friendship to them," Paul said. "Didn't we talk to the Soviets? Didn't we talk to the Chinese?"

This sounded like candidate Barack Obama four years ago who offered to sit down with Iran's leaders during his first year in office to try to work out the issues between Iran and the United States. But the Islamic Republic has refused to meet the United States unless it first changes its policies, a position just enunciated again two weeks ago.

Paul was not asked what he would do if Iran would not meet with him as president,

Paul made very clear his opposition to keeping "all options on the table," as both the Bush and Obama Administrations have said repeatedly.

"For them [Iran] to be a threat to us or to anybody in the region is just blown out of proportion," Paul said. "People are anxious to use violence against the Iranians. I think it would undermine our security. I think it would be very destructive to Israel because this is going to blow that place [the Middle East] up."

Elsewhere in the GOP presidential competition, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would support Israel if it chose to attack Iran. He did not say that a President Perry would attack Iran, however.

And in an interview with Christiane Amanpour of ABC, Rep. Michelle Bachmann called an Iranian plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington "an act of war." Asked how a President Bachmann would respond to an "act of war," Bachmann sounded tough but avoided saying directly that she would respond to an act of war by going to war. "I would take everything at my disposal to make sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon," she said vaguely. The same vague formulation has been used by the last two administrations.

Bachmann said of Iran, "They've already said that they would use a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the face of the map. That must never occur. Iran has also stated that they would be willing to use a nuclear weapon against the United States of America." The Islamic Republic has never said any such thing.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Nov 11, 2011
Words:578
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