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A Day After Justifying Reagan’s Dealings With The Iranians, Santorum Says They ‘Cannot Be Negotiated With’

By Ali Gharib on October 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

"A Day After Justifying Reagan’s Dealings With The Iranians, Santorum Says They ‘Cannot Be Negotiated With’"

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Amid the talk during Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate about negotiating with terrorists like al Qaeda, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) dropped a doozy on his fellow candidates: “Are you all willing to condemn Ronald Reagan for exchanging weapons for hostages out of Iran? We all know that was done.” One of the candidates, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), quickly stepped up to defend the Gipper:

SANTORUM: That’s not — Iran was a sovereign country. It was not a terrorist organization, number one.

[...] They’re — they’re — they’re a sovereign country

PAUL: He negotiated for hostages.

SANTORUM: There’s — there’s a role — we negotiated for hostages with the Soviet Union. We’ve negotiated with hostages, depending on the scale. But there’s a difference between releasing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in response to a terrorist demand… then — then negotiating with other countries, where we may have an interest, and that is certainly a proper role for the United States, too.

But just the following night on Fox News, Santorum was singing a different tune. Asked by Bret Baier what President Santorum’s Iran policy would be, the former senator concluded:

This government will not and cannot be negotiated with. They are radical Islamists. They are theocrats. They are mullahs who believe it is their destiny to fulfill the prophets and the 12th Imam’s vision of having global control of the world for radical Shia Islam.

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In the past, Santorum has called Iran “evil” and “Islamic fascists,” and in the same speech celebrated Reagan calling the Soviet Union the “evil empire.” At the debate Tuesday, he supported talking to both Iran and the Soviet Union as “proper” when there was a U.S. “interest” at stake. But when he wasn’t put in a position to defend Reagan’s actions, he leaned toward a more ideological position that precludes any talking irrespective of national interests.

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