US Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has criticized Washington's policy toward Iran, particularly the sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.
During a heated debate between GOP presidential contenders in Ames, Iowa aired on Fox News, Paul questioned the value of the sanctions policy against Iran.
He added that he would prefer more diplomatic discourse and trade with Tehran rather than relying on threatening rhetoric.
“People in the countries you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them. I say a policy of peace is free trade. Stay out of their internal business, don't get involved in these wars, and just bring our troops home,” said the Texas congressman, who has emerged as one of the GOP front-runners and is currently polling third in the United States after Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
Commenting on Iran's nuclear energy program, Paul referred to a CIA report that says there is no evidence showing that Tehran's nuclear program has been deviated toward weapons production.
Paul noted that the idea of a nuclear threat posed by Iran has been exaggerated over time, saying that the reasons behind the tensions between Washington and Tehran go far back.
“We've been at war in Iran for a lot longer than '79. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah. And the reaction, the blowback, came in 1979. It's been going on and on because we just plain don't mind our own business. That's our problem,” he said.