Ron Paul Backs Iran Nuclear Deal

No surprise, although his son Rand opposes it


Gage Skidmore

Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman who ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012, has spoken out in support of the deal negotiated between Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers earlier this week.

Paul expressed his support for the deal, which he acknowledged was not perfect, in an interview on Newsmax TV's "Hard Line." Via Newsmax:

Paul told host Ed Berliner that the deal echoed Ronald Reagan's deal with the Soviets in the 1980s. Paul's biggest problem with the deal was that the United States had to work under the confines of the United Nations and NATO.

"There's something to be said about moving in the direction of at least talking to people instead of saying, 'All right, you're scoundrels, we'll keep our $100 billion we've taken from you and all options are on the table, like if you don't do what we tell you, we're allowed to use our nuclear weapons against you,'" Paul said. "The tone has been changed. It's to our benefit; it's to the benefit of world peace."

Paul also pointed out that in its history Iran has never invaded any of its neighbors, though Newsmax notes Iran critics would list Iran's support for militant and rebel groups in the region as a counterargument to that.

Paul didn't appear to mention Mohammed Mossadegh, a democratically-elected Iranian prime minister overthrown in a CIA-backed coup in 1953, though Paul mentioned him often when talking about Iran as a congressman and two time Republican presidential candidate. The coup that overthrew Mossadegh brought back the Shah, an unpopular Iranian leader who was eventually overthrown by a presumably non-CIA-backed coup led by Ayatollah Khomeini and other Islamist extremists. For all of Mossadegh's faults, he was a democratically-elected politician who was not an Islamist extremist. Where Iran would be now had he not been overthrown is an open question, though it's difficult to see how the unpopular Shah would have been able to retake power in Iran without the support of a global superpower like the U.S. Maybe the ayatollahs would've been able to launch a successful coup in 1979 against a democratic Iranian government—it certainly would have been harder than in the conditions that actually existed thanks to reckless U.S. intervention.

Paul's son, Rand, a senator from Kentucky seeking the 2016 Republican nomination, has sounded amenable to negotiations with Iran before but, keeping in line with a troubling lurch rightward on foreign policy, condemned this week's deal and not enough. His lurching hasn't helped—Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another presidential contender, continue to maintain Hillary Clinton, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, would've gotten a better deal with Iran than Rand Paul would be capable of.

Ron Paul called the deal a "gamble" but "the right gamble to make" and not as big a gamble as when Reagan negotiated with the Soviets over weapons.