Unlike Mike Huckabee, Senator Rand Paul only had praise for the release of four Americans from Iran on Saturday. After learning about it, he broke the news to a crowd at a town hall in Manchester, NH, then ripped into those who favored war over diplomacy.
“It was done, I think, because even though Iran is a country with very limited freedom, we were willing to negotiate. It goes to temperament. All the other Republicans are telling you — rip up that agreement. I say, ‘Really? Don’t we want to see if it works first?”, said Paul.
The junior Senator has opposed the Iranian deal, even signing the Cotton letter to Iran, and has campaigned for the release of Saeed Abedini, an Iran-American pastor who has set up unsanctioned churches in homes in Iran. And now that Saeed Abedini has been released, it seems that Rand Paul, who has been hesitant to support the agreement, is now looking like he will back the deal.
“I’m hopeful that this means Iran is going to begin behaving in a more civilized fashion,” Paul said in an interview before arriving at another event in Newport, according to the Washington Post. “Some will remark that this happens on the eve of money being released to them from the exchange account, but it may mean it’s a new opening and thawing of relations. I’ve always said that negotiations are better than war, and the if Iran adheres to this, it will be a good agreement. The reason I was concerned before was that I worried there wasn’t sufficient leverage.”
He also criticized Republicans running for president for having nothing but criticism for President Obama.
“It’s about the decision over who you want as a commander in chief,” Paul said. “Part of that judgment is that you want someone with wisdom, strength, and ability to carefully evaluate situations without acting rashly. The other people onstage want to react strongly against anything Obama does, without considering the consequences of what they are saying.”
And responding to the assessment from other Republican candidates that a tougher administration or president would have gotten the release earlier, he scoffed at it.
“That argument would come from people who just want to find fault with the president,” he said. “When something good happens, rather than trying to find fault, we should celebrate it.”
Rand Paul was among those who supported the president in the ‘Cuba Thaw’ when the opening of relations with Cuba brought criticism from the likes of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).