Thursday, April 24, 2008

Senator Specter Calls for Dialogue Without Preconditions Twice in the Same Month

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has twice called for the U.S. to drop preconditions and negotiate with Iran this month.

Sen. Specter blasted U.S. policy on Iran and called for more dialogue in the hearing today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security.

During the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations hearing on the Fiscal Year 2009 budget that was held on April 9, Senator Specter told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Bush administration should drop its demand that Iran suspend uranium enrichment as a condition for talks with the United States. Senator Specter said, “Frankly, I think it's insulting to go to another person, or another country, and say ‘we’re not going to talk to you unless you agree to something in advance.’ What we want them to do is to stop enriching uranium. That’s the object of the talks. How can we insist on their agreeing to the object that we want as a precondition for having the talks?”

Secretary Rice responded that halting enrichment is not just a U.S. condition but also a demand of other major powers trying to resolve the nuclear issue with Iran. Secretary Rice also said that Iran cannot be allowed to use negotiations as a “cover” while it continues perfecting techniques that might be used for nuclear weapons.

However, Secretary Rice failed to mention that it has been the Bush administration that has insisted the international community place the Iranian nuclear issue on the front burner. Yet the U.S. itself has not directly engaged Iran in negotiations, preferring to farm out direct contacts to European allies. It is unlikely that Iran would evoke so much international concern minus U.S. pressure.

No comments: