By Alexandra Jaffe - 04/13/14 12:25 PM EDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the government should not rule out containment of a nuclear Iran, declaring that those who take a hard-line stance against it are “voting for war.”
“The people who say ‘by golly, we will never stand for that,' ” he added, “they are voting for war.”
Paul was one of just two senators to oppose a 2012 bill imposing sanctions on Iran to dissuade its nuclear ambitions, and he stood by his decision in the interview.
He said, though, that “all options should be on the table,” and that "it's not a good idea to announce ... in advance" that Iran wouldn’t face military action if they did get nuclear weapons.
"Should I announce to Iran, well, we don't want you to [get nuclear weapons], but we'll live with it? No, that's a dumb idea to say that you're going to live with it," Paul said, adding that "however, the opposite's a dumb idea, too."
Paul’s foreign policy positions often put him at odds with the more hawkish mainstream of his party, as he typically counsels nonintervention in international conflicts.
And they occasionally align him with the opposite party, as with comments he made in 2009 criticizing former Vice President Dick Cheney for invading Iraq.
Earlier this week, Mother Jones published a video of those comments, in which Paul suggests Cheney wanted to invade Iraq to benefit his former employer, Halliburton.
Asked in the ABC interview about the comments, Paul said he wasn’t questioning Cheney’s motives and that he doesn’t think Cheney “did it out of malevolence. I think he loves this country as much as I love the country."
But he added that “there's a chance for a conflict of interest. At one point in time he was opposed to going into Baghdad, then he was out of office and involved in the defense industry, and then he became for going into Baghdad."