U.S. presidential hopeful Ron Paul: 'Friendship' is best way to deal with Iran
The libertarian Texas congressman says Iran's nuclear weapons program has been 'blown out of proportion' and that tougher sanctions are a mistake.
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul says "offering friendship" to Iran, not sanctions, would be a more fruitful way to deal with Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions.
The libertarian-leaning Texas congressman, a longshot in the presidential campaign, said Sunday that Iran's nuclear weapons program has been "blown out of proportion." He said tough sanctions are a mistake, because in the case of Iraq, they only hurt the local population and still paved a path to war.
When asked on "Fox News Sunday" what he would do to deter Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions, Paul said "maybe offering friendship to them."
Paul's remarks put him at odds with both the Bush and Obama administrations; U.S. policy has relied heavily on sanctions and diplomacy to try to convince Tehran to abandon its atomic program. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.
Earlier on Sunday, a senior Iranian cleric dismissed talk of a military strike by Israel as empty propaganda, taunting it for screaming "like a cornered cat" rather than "roaring like a lion".
Israeli media have speculated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking cabinet consensus to attack Iranian nuclear sites as Western diplomats say new evidence that Tehran researching ways to build atom bombs will be published this week.