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Anderson broke a long silence on a hands-off subject in this year's campaign -- the hostages in Iran. "Our silence has gotten us nowhere," he said in laying out his views on Gulf policy in Santa Barbara, Calif.

"We must begin by recognizing that in spite of our current differences, the United States and Iran have many mutual interests," Anderson said.

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He suggested a negotiated settlement of the Iran-Iraq war might include turning the disputed Shatt al Arab waterway into an international zone under the control of a United Nations peace-keeping force.

He also said the US must be careful not to attempt to make any Middle Eastern country its "gendarme" for the area, specifying that the US should not provide Saudi Arabia with bomb racks and larger fuel tanks for their American-built F-15 planes.