Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

Location: Wichita, Kansas

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Where are Democrats on Iran?

There are compelling reasons for us to be committed against Iran developing nuclear capability. Iran has made it's intentions rather evident. The President of Iran, has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Ruling Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani declared that the Muslim world could survive a nuclear exchange with Israel - while accomplishing the goal of obliterating the Jewish state. "The application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel - but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world," Hashemi-Rafsanjani said, in quotes picked up by the Iran Press Service.

So what position are leading Democrats taking on Iran?

Howard Dean

“We promise that we will kill or capture bin Laden; with the help of China and Russia, we will shut down the North Korean nuclear program; we will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power; and we will protect our ports."

Senator Evan Bayh

“And the radical leader of Iran who is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons – has pledged to destroy Israel and asked his people to imagine a world without the United States. How do we deal with Iran in a tough and smart way?

First, Iran must be made to understand that a nuclear Iran is not negotiable. We will not let a government that calls for the end of the United States or Israel acquire a nuclear weapon. It is that simple.

With that as our non-negotiable position, the administration must immediately go to the United Nations Security Council and call for strong economic, political, and diplomatic sanctions. If its nuclear activities persist, there will be consequences beyond that, including the use of force. We cannot afford to wait. The Iranian government must understand that if its nuclear activity continues, it will be treated as a pariah state.

Second, supplies of refined gasoline to Iran should be cut off. Iran may be one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, but currently imports 40 percent of their refined gasoline. By cutting that supply off, the Iranian economy will be hurt badly.

Third, Iran must be isolated diplomatically, financially, and culturally. Their delegations should no longer be welcomed in countries around the world. Iranian assets should be frozen and financial and banking ties severed. Travel to and from Iran should be cut off and international flights should not be allowed to land or originate from the country. Most importantly, Iran should be denied the foreign investment for its energy sector that it so clearly craves.

And last, Iran should be assured that if they do the right thing, they will be welcomed back to the family of nations, with clear benefits including a carefully monitored civilian nuclear power program, membership in the WTO, and investment for a stable, more prosperous Iran. This will not be easy. Time is not our friend. Bipartisan support for tough, thoughtful action is needed now.”

Barack Obama

"The big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures [to stop its nuclear program], including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point ... if any, are we going to take military action? Launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in" given the ongoing war in Iraq. "On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse." Obama went on to argue that military strikes on Pakistan should not be ruled out if "violent Islamic extremists" were to "take over."

Senator Hillary Clinton

"I held a series of meetings with Israeli officials [last summer], including the prime minister and the foreign minister and the head of the [Israeli Defense Force] to discuss such challenges we confront. In each of these meetings, we talked at length about the dire threat posed by the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, not only to Israel, but also to Europe and Russia. Just this week, the new president of Iran made further outrageous comments that attacked Israel's right to exist that are simply beyond the pale of international discourse and acceptability. During my meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I was reminded vividly of the threats that Israel faces every hour of every day ... It became even more clear how important it is for the United States to stand with Israel ..."

“I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations. I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines. But let's be clear about the threat we face now: A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, to its neighbors and beyond. The regime's pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric only underscores the urgency of the threat it poses. U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not — must not — permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations. And we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran — that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Senator Joseph Biden

“Well, I don't think there is anything, to use the colloquial phrase, that the administration has "taken off the table," in terms of potential options to move against Iran if they viewed it as necessary. But the fact of the matter is there are not many options. Unlike the program that existed in Iraq, as opposed to Iran years ago when the Israelis very famously took out the Iraqi nuclear reactor, all the experts will tell you there is no single military action from the air and/or through sabotage that could, quote, "end their nascent nuclear program." And so the options are more limited.

I would make two other points. The administration has, I think of late, meaning the last year, adopted the correct policy with regard to Iran, and that is to attempt to further isolate Iran by cooperating with and getting the consensus of the European community, Russia, China and others to say to Iran that, `If you continue to act in this sort of, in a generic sense, this anti-social behavior internationally, there will be consequences for you.' Notwithstanding the fact that the present president of Iran has been somewhat bellicose, the very day they said they're going to renew their effort to produce material and come out from underneath the IAE safeguards, he also said that the possibility of Russia being a vehicle for the--dealing with the enriched uranium that occurs as a consequence of this civilian nuclear power plant, of all of it being shipped back out to Russia, it was still on the table. So I don't think we know nor do they know exactly where their end position is.

I think the administration is going at it the right way right now. And I think that we won't know until the international community finally decides, if it does, to sanction them, what the result is likely to be.”

Responsible Democrats seem to be taking essentially the same position on Iran as the Administration. It is good to see that partisanship does not always trump national interest and common sense. The above cited Democrats deserve credit on this one.

Comments on "Where are Democrats on Iran?"


Blogger j.d. said ... (4:29 PM) : 

If you believe, that is, that their words are sincere and that they're not just doing it to look tough. From what I've seen from some of these, I'm inclined to believe the latter.

Some (Obama, Bayh -- they have nothing to run away from) are, I'm sure. The others? I'll believe their commitment when I see it.


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