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Buchanan: Now Is Not Time for Tougher Sanctions on Iran

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 06:53 PM

Former Republican presidential candidate and syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan does not agree with fellow Republicans who are demanding more sanctions on Iran, because it could kill any possible chance of peace — and he says the United States should wait until the Iranians "actually do something."

"I disagree with a lot of my conservative colleagues. I don't think now is the time to impose new sanctions and vote tough sanctions on Iran," Buchanan told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Now, if Iran backslides on its commitment in this interim deal or does not come to a final deal or walks away from the talks of its own accord, almost every American would say, OK, that does it, we're going back to the sanctions road."

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So far, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to bring a sanctions bill proposed by Republicans to the floor — and Buchanan says it should remain that way.

Congress will be making a "terrible mistake if, in effect, it gives the Iranians a reason to walk out and the world a reason to blame the United States . . . Congress ought to hold off its legislation," Buchanan said.

"Let's not panic, because the end of that road is straight to a war in the Persian Gulf . . . We will smash Iran, of course, and the world economy will go into the Dumpster.

"Our own intelligence . . . confirmed in 2007 and 2011 that Iran does not as of now have a bomb program. So, all I'm saying is instead of getting on our high horse and saying, well, we can't take it, look what they're saying about us, keep going down this road until they actually do something."

Buchanan, who was a senior adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, is not impressed with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's slap at Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ya'alon said Kerry is "obsessive and Messianic" about reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

"It is offensive for the Israelis, whom we've been very supportive of, to make these statements," said Buchanan, who advised Kerry to let the comment roll off his back.

"You've got somebody who popped off about John Kerry. We're big boys, and so if I were Kerry, if he believes he is moving toward something, don't give it up just because some individual over there mouthed off at you.

"I'm very doubtful Kerry can bring anything off . . . but Kerry has made his bid here, he's put the talks together . . . I don't think we ought to let some loud character over there, no matter how high he is with some foolish comment, to cause us to behave like eighth-graders and walk off the reservation," Buchanan said.

Ya'alon's office on Tuesday issued a statement, saying:

"Israel and the United States share a common goal to advance the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, led by Secretary Kerry. We appreciate Secretary Kerry's many efforts towards that end. The defense minister had no intention to cause any offense to the secretary, and he apologizes if the secretary was offended by words attributed to the minister."

Buchanan also says Americans should be wary about the ongoing loosening of marijuana laws.

"You've got to ask yourself how does this benefit our common society . . . There's no doubt about it that you smoke pot as you're growing up in high school, it affects the mind, it affects the retentive memory, it affects the IQ even," Buchanan said.

"How does that help society if we've got more stone heads, we've got more guys driving around who are high or stoned on pot, and you've got guys smoking pot in college when they ought to be learning? What is the benefit to society? There is none.

"I know the libertarian arguments . . . the comparison with booze. But it's a sign of a society that is headed straight downhill."

As far as the political future of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who is embroiled in the Bridge-gate scandal, in which his former top aide Bridget Anne Kelly allegedly ordered a traffic tie-up for political payback — the jury remains out for Buchanan.

"If the governor has proven to have told the truth, he's going to get by this. But if it's found out that he knew earlier or condoned it or he was told about it and you get his credibility on the line, it's going to be deeply, deeply problematical for him."

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