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Ron Paul: Iran’s Nuke Program ‘Blown Out Of Proportion’

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Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul participates at a Forum on Manufacturing at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella, Iowa, on Nov. 1, 2011. (credit: Steve Pope/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul participates at a Forum on Manufacturing at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella, Iowa, on Nov. 1, 2011. (credit: Steve Pope/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS Washington/AP) — GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul says “offering friendship” to Iran, not sanctions, would be a more fruitful to achieving peace with Tehran.

The Texas congressman says fears about Iran’s nuclear program have been “blown out of proportion.” He says tough penalties are a mistake because, as he says was the case in Iraq, they only hurt the local population and still paved a path to war.

When asked on “Fox News Sunday” what he would do to deter Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions, Paul said “maybe offering friendship to them.”

Paul’s remarks put him at odds with both the Bush and Obama administrations; U.S. policy has relied heavily on sanctions and diplomacy to try to convince Tehran to abandon its atomic program. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

On Saturday, Paul won the Illinois Straw Poll, taking 52 percent of the vote.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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