Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday that while he would have taken many of the same actions President Barack Obama did after Iran detained 10 U.S. Navy sailors this week, he believes the Obama administration made a key mistake.
Paul was asked during a sit-down interview with TheBlaze about criticism Obama received from conservatives over the incident.
"Would you have done anything specifically different?" he was asked.
"I don't think there is—," Paul said. "Other than we shouldn't say they were doing the best behavior, you know. I think complimenting them too much was something the president made a mistake in."
Paul continued, "But I think sometimes conservatives get alarmed. 'Oh, the president did it so we got to yell at the president.' You know what I mean? It becomes this reflexive thing that isn't necessarily constructive either."
"I think in the end it turned out for the best — they did come back very quickly," the Republican presidential hopeful added. "But it was also insulting the way our soldiers were treated."
Paul told TheBlaze he was particularly worried that Iran "paraded them as sort of pawns and puppets for our regime."
"It goes against the Geneva Convention," he said. "The Geneva Convention says you are not supposed to use prisoners of war that way. You are not supposed to film them, ridicule them, have them do fake confessions."
"So it makes me suspicious of Iran's intentions," Paul continued. "Do they really want to be part of the civilized world? Are they going to be honest in their agreement as we move forward?"
Paul said it was "part of the reason" he voted against the Iranian nuclear deal.
"While I do want negotiations and I think a negotiated settlement to get rid of their nuclear weapons would be good. I worry, will they comply," he explained. "And I thought that if we kept the sanctions on and gradually take them off over a several year period, as we saw their compliance, it would have a better chance that they would comply."
"They are getting very close now to getting their money," Paul added. "When they get their money, the question is will they be as quick to comply? Or will their behavior get worse again? It does concern me, particularly when we play games like this."
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