Silver Lining

Food for thought

US ex-officials urge diplomacy with Rouhani


Al Manar

Former US officials called Monday for President US-IranBarack Obama to pursue diplomacy with Iran’s incoming president, noting that the election of Rouhani “presents a major potential opportunity.”

“We strongly encourage your administration to seize the moment to pursue new multilateral and bilateral negotiations with Iran once Rouhani takes office in order to make Iran adopt a more moderate policy,” they wrote.

The letter urged the United States to prepare to empower its sanctions, which have pummeled the Iranian economy, in exchange for concessions.

The letter’s 29 signatories included retired veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations; Anne-Marie Slaughter, who was a top aide to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton; and Larry Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former secretary of state Colin Powell.

In a separate effort, two members of the House of Representatives — Republican Charles Dent and Democrat David Price — have led a call for Obama to “utilize all diplomatic tools” with Iran’s new president.

The letter as of late Monday had 59 signatories, among them 12 Republicans.

The lawmakers noted that Iran’s president had limited powers but said it “would be a mistake not to test” Rouhani.

“We must also be careful not to preempt this potential opportunity by engaging in actions that delegitimize the newly elected president and weaken his standing relative to extremists within the regime who are opposed to his professed ‘policy of reconciliation and peace,'” they wrote in a letter.

This American move comes after the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS news network that Rouhani is “a wolf in a sheep’s clothing,” urging the U.S. to adopt the military option against Tehran in case the sanctions do not work out.

US, European, Russian and Chinese officials meet Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the next steps regarding Iran.


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