Experts Call for Diplomacy, Not War, with Iran
Government officials and foreign policy experts from both sides of the political aisle call for diplomacy, not war, with Iran. Below is a sampling of quotes from officials who advocate that the United States should be pursuing diplomacy with Iran.
Also see quotes by other US and Israeli officials warning against a military attack on Iran and against sanctions on Iran.
Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs under the G.W. Bush administration
“…The winner of November’s election should do what every president since Jimmy Carter has failed to do — create a direct channel between Washington and Tehran and begin an extended one-on-one negotiation with all issues on the table. The United States should aim for the sustained and substantive talks it has not had in the three decades since American diplomats were taken hostage in Tehran.”
“….We should exhaust diplomacy before we consider war. To attack a country before we have had our first meaningful discussions since 1979 would be shortsighted, to say the least.”[The Boston Globe, 8/16/2012]
Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Fmr. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and fmr. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
“Past talks have suffered[…]because they have been a series of one-night stands, meetings that took place over one day, where one side or the other, either Iran or the United States, had a proposal, and the other side rejected it. They went away and then spent another six to eight months negotiating a resumption.”[Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 03/28/12]
William H. Luers and Thomas Pickering, Fmr. U.S. Ambassadors
"It is a grave and uncertain time. Patient, committed diplomacy is the only way to realize the long term and durable objectives of an Iran without nuclear weapons and a region without war…This opportunity should not be squandered.”[Boston Globe, 03/10/12]
Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
“We think the best and most permanent way of accomplishing [a resolution of the Iranian nuclear dispute] is through a combined policy of intensified sanctions and pressure, which we are mounting, with the opportunity for Iran to resolve these issues diplomatically. If they take that opportunity and give up their program through a negotiated solution, that’s the best case scenario and in that context much may be possible, potentially.”Emphasis added. [Think Progress, 3/8/2012]
President Barack Obama
"At this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically. That’s not just my view. That’s the view of our top intelligence officials; it’s the view of top Israeli intelligence officials…it is deeply in everybody’s interests – the United States, Israel, and the world’s – to see if this can be resolved in a peaceful fashion.”[White House, 03/06/12]
Catherine Ashton, European Union Foreign Policy Chief
“Our overall goal remains a comprehensive negotiated, long-term solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”[Reuters, 03/06/12]
Senator Dianne Feinstein
“Simply put, isolating a country doesn’t work. It only promotes a deterioration of stability and increases threat. When nations don’t talk, there is increased possibility of conflict. By contrast, serious diplomacy, given the right timing and the right opportunity, can lead to progress.”[San Francisco Chronicle, 02/06/08]
General James Cartwright, Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"You want to try to make sure and work hard to have an official channel that is really open for dialogue, so that the ambiguity at least can be addressed."[Center for Strategic and International Studies, 02/23/12]
Ambassador James Dobbins, Director of RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center
“We spoke to Stalin’s Russia. We spoke to Mao’s China. In both cases, greater mutual exposure changed their system, not ours. It’s time to speak to Iran, unconditionally, and comprehensively.”[RAND Corporation, 11/07/07]