Paul And Santorum Battle Over Iran

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Sparks flew between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum during Thursday night’s Republican debate, over Paul’s opposition to a hawkish foreign policy approach against Iran.

“Why wouldn’t it be natural that they might want a nuclear weapon? Internationally they would be given more respect,” said Paul. “Why should we write people off? We should at least talk to them – Reagan talked to the Soviets.”

Paul added that during the Cold War that the Soviet Union and China had many nuclear weapons — compared to Iran’s current efforts to produce just one — and represented genuine threats to the United States. But America did not go to war with those countries, instead maintaining diplomatic relations.

This prompted a fiery response from Rick Santorum, who boasted of how he had passed legislation to isolate Iran when he was in the Senate.“Iran is not Iceland, Ron,” said Santorum. “Iran is a country that has been at war against us since 1979,” and is an “existential threat” to Israel.

Paul responded that conflict between Iran and the United States goes back much further than 1979 — going to when the United States installed the Shah of Iran in a military coup in 1953, with blowback coming later in the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Santorum responded that Paul sounded like President Obama — in apologizing for the United States.

Santorum’s disdain for the Iranian regime was so intsense, that he also described Iran as being “under a mullahcracy that trampls the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays,” and other groups.

This was an interesting position for a candidate who has denounced gay rights activists for using the courts to create a “super-right” to “sexual liberty,” which he has said trumps the religious freedoms of conservative Christians such as himself.

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