Openly supporting the Iranian revolt could have unintended consequences, says Ron Paul in this interview on Radio America. Our support might well unify Iran against America, rather than uniting it with the revolutionaries. That’s why the US should not openly take sides in the violent dispute. At the same time, Ron Paul would not prevent individual Iranian Americans who want to fight for the revolution to get involved themselves.
Download the interview as an MP3 file here (7:40 minutes).
Channel: Radio America
Greg Corombos: This is Greg Corombos of Radio America reporting for WorldNetDaily. My guest at this time is Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican representing the lone star state’s 14th congressional district. He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he was a 2008 presidential candidate. He want to get his thoughts today as a member of that critical House Foreign Affairs Committee on the latest developments and unrest inside Iran and Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.
Ron Paul: Thank you. It’s good to be with you.
Greg Corombos: Information is difficult to get out of Iran at this point. Really, the social networks are the best avenues since the Iranian government has put a clamp especially on foreign media with limited reports, limited camera work and so forth. What do you make of the Iranian government’s response to these pro-democracy demonstrators?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, it’s hard to figure it out like you say it’s hard to get the really good information and exactly know what’s going on. I guess, any government that has unrest in their country and there’s upheaval and governments react in the traditional manner no matter where you are.
But I think that generally speaking, most people are pretty excited about the fact that maybe at the grassroots level, the Iranian people are getting a little bit tired of what they’ve been putting up with, so hopefully that will work out for the better.
Greg Corombos: Congressman, you made it very clear during the campaign that you believe the US involves itself too much in certain parts of the world and there’s a big debate as you know going on right now about whether it’s proper for the US to actively encourage and publicly support the demonstrators or whether it’s better to try to remain as neutral as possible and just hope that they win, so we don’t give fuel to the fire for those in command in Iran. What do you see is the best approach for our administration?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I want us to not get involved and this is one place where I agree with our President. When the President says he doesn’t want to get involved because it would look like we have picked sides and even if we favor one side, it might do them more harm than good, so I think that is wise.
But the bigger question is whether or not we really are involved, so for the time being, for what we know, I would support the President in taking a more hands off position, even though he now has had to change his tone a little bit because of what Congress is doing. We had this little vote the other day where I was the only one that actually took this position to supporting the President saying that we shouldn’t get too aggressive in supporting one side or the other because quite frankly, I think anybody outside of Iran, even the people in Iran know exactly what’s going on and what the motivations are and whether Moussavi is actually going to have the reforms that we want, so I think it’s very risky for us to get involved.
Greg Corombos: But Congressman, the parallel may not be exact, of course, but some would say that it’s important for those yearning for freedom to have the vocal support of the United States. They point to the 1980s when the Iron Curtain started to crumble, President Reagan’s strong verbal support for the Solidarity Movement in Poland, for example, as well as other folks yearning for freedom in Eastern Europe and they say that was a critical factor in actually making that a reality. Do you sense that we could play that same role today as those who voted in favor of the resolution last week suggested?
Ron Paul: No, I don’t think that was as relevant as some people think because, you know, when there was the revolt in Hungary and Czechoslovakia and we didn’t respond, nothing much happened as far as revolution goes, which means the people have to be ready and when the people are ready, lip service isn’t going to make the difference, so I just don’t think that us saying anything right now is going to make a difference. I think saying things right now in support of the revolutionaries, I believe that the President is right on this. This may well make things much worse, so this doesn’t mean that people can’t have an opinion and say tyranny should always be abolished and we always root for the underdogs and root for individual liberty, but sorting this all out and doing it in a political way with our country at stake, I think that’s risky business.
Greg Corombos: Is there another avenue, perhaps less publicly that we can support this? Or is it just a matter of allowing this to take root naturally and to grow naturally?
Ron Paul: We should take a hands off position officially, but I think if this is a really just cause and the Iranian Americans who know the most about it if they think this is really a worthy cause, I would never put any restrictions in their place. I mean, I’d rather see them go on off and send their money and send their kids and they go over there and help out rather than agitating in Washington to use taxpayer’s money or use our troops to go and get involved.
So I wouldn’t have any restrictions on people who think that they know and feel strongly about the benefits of being over there, so they could go over there and give moral support. I mean, it’s been done in other times, so I would certainly allow that to happen.
Greg Corombos: It’s been already reported that the Iranian government has accused and, in fact, we just saw it in the press last week, accused the US of intolerable meddling in the whole post-election mess over there and as you point out, President Obama has been especially careful with his words, so if the Iranian government is going to use us as the strongman anyway, does that give us more latitude or does it mean that we have to be even more careful?
Ron Paul: Well, I think we have to be more careful, but what we ought to be doing, if I have anything to say about it, I would be very explicit that we don’t have our CIA operating in there. That is our problem. I mean, it’s been charged, it’s been known, it’s been published and it’s been around for a long time, and I strongly suspect that it’s still there and that means that we have been involved in undermining the stability of that government and I think too often that backfires and, of course, that’s why if we give verbal support right now, we really could… it would more or less confirm the fact that we’ve already been involved. So, yes, I don’t think we sit benignly by, even though we might be talking less. Unfortunately, I think we’re very much involved.
Greg Corombos: Congressman, last question, you’ve been in Congress now for more than 20 years or at least, you were first elected in the 1980s, in terms of your sense of what’s happening there, do you believe that this has the momentum to be a major movement or do you suspect that the government will crack down enough that this would be over in a matter of days.
Ron Paul: Well, that’s tough to predict, but I think it’s the early stages of a major movement, but I think the government will crack down and ultimately it will be a setback, at least temporarily. But long term, I think the seeds have been planted and I think ultimately, there will be changes there. But I think the more it comes about spontaneously with the people without our involvement, the better, because if they can tie this type of revolt to us, it will backfire. It will unify the country against us rather than unifying the country with the revolutionaries.
Greg Corombos: Congressman, that will be interesting to watch how this plays out. Thank you, sir, very much for your time and your insight today.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Greg Corombos: Texas Congressman Ron Paul represents the state’s 14th Congressional District. He’s a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he was a 2008 Republican presidential candidate. I am Greg Corombos of Radio America reporting for World Net Daily.