Friday, September 12, 2008

Senator John Kerry on Iran

Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) responded to a constituent letter outlining concerns with the U.S. approach toward Iran. Below is the Senator Kerry's response, which details his position on how the U.S. should move forward.

Dear XXX:

Thank you for writing me with regard to U.S. policy toward Iran. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on a foreign policy issue which demands nothing less than our full efforts to find a diplomatic solution.

As our nation's intelligence agencies made clear in December 2007, now is the time for a sustained and assertive diplomacy to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. Sustained diplomacy does not mean that the threat of an Iran with nuclear weapons has gone away. In fact, we know that Iran once had a secret nuclear weapons program and that it continues to produce fissile material that can serve as fuel for a nuclear weapon. The question is how best to address this challenge, and the best way forward is through careful diplomacy.

I believe we must deliver a strong message to the Iranians as part of a comprehensive approach that imposes effective, multilateral sanctions should they continue to defy the will of the world. As part of our multilateral diplomatic efforts, the U.S. and our allies must offer real incentives for verifiable nuclear cooperation.

The recent incident in the Persian Gulf makes clear that we cannot afford to let our guard
down - and it also highlights the importance of dialogue so that miscommunication or misinterpretation of the motives on either side doesn't lead to heightened tensions. The U.S. Navy's firm but measured response to Iran's recent provocations deserves our admiration and I'd like to express my appreciation for their continued vigilance.

To ensure that America's policy remains steadfast and smart, and that counterproductive saber-rattling doesn't trump common sense, it's important for Congress to be very clear with the Bush
Administration. Because I do not want to see the President lead the American people into a wrongheaded war with Iran, I have cosponsored legislation with Senators Webb, Clinton, and Whitehouse to prohibit the use of funds for military action against Iran unless approved by Congress. As the elected representatives of the people, Congress-not the President-has the constitutional authority to decide matters of war and peace, and to use the power of the purse to enforce our will. Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and it's essential that we act that way.

Please rest assured that I am continuing to press for an effective diplomatic solution in regards to Iran. Thank you again for your letter. Do not hesitate to contact me on this or any other matter of importance to you.


John F. Kerry
United States Senator

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