• 9 January 2014
  • Posted By Shervin Taheran
  • Congress, Diplomacy, US-Iran War

Cruz-ing Towards Failed Diplomacy

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has become the latest Iran hawk to introduce a measure placing preconditions on negotiations designed to end the Iran talks.

Originally, there were Senators Robert Menendez and Mark Kirk, who introduced a Senate bill (S.1881) that has earned a veto threat from the President because it would invalidate the interim deal signed with Iran by passing new sanctions. That bill would also place unworkable demands on any final deal, including requiring full dismantlement of even a verifiable peaceful nuclear program.  And it would pledge U.S. support for Israeli strikes on Iran.

Now, Senator Cruz (R-TX) is joining forces with fellow hard-line conservative Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) to introduce a Senate resolution with their own demands that must be met before any bilateral negotiations continue with Iran.

The first precondition that must be met in Cruz’s world before the U.S. is allowed to engage in talks with Iran? Iran must first recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Cruz wants to cut off the talks that can end the Iranian nuclear standoff, deliver a transparent and verifiable non-military nuclear program, and prevent a disastrous war in which Israel would surely play a major role, to demand Iran do something America’s staunchest allies in the region have yet to do. This is just another precondition specifically designed to block engagement. Something Cruz and his right wing colleagues are failing to understand is how the success of negotiations with Iran is actually in Israel’s interest.

Cruz’s other demand is that Iran release three American’s—two of whom are known to be detained in Iran and one who has been missing for seven years and was recently revealed to be working for the CIA.

We all want the safe and quick return of our fellow Americans. That’s why most Americans support diplomacy–it is the best tool to secure our interests. Senator Cruz’s approach would take away that tool. If Senator Cruz genuinely wants these men returned, he should realize that the way to get them home is not by destroying the fragile dialogue and ending negotiations because of preconditions. Issuing demands from the halls of Congress may be great if you like the sound of your own voice, but it is not how you conduct foreign policy and advance your interests.

Do  Senator Cruz and Senator Inhofe sincerely believe that Iran is going to listen to a United States that has the mental attitude of “my way or the highway”? Or is Iran more likely to listen and make compromises to a United States who treats Iran as a negotiating equal? Like it or not, Iranians are too prideful to continue negotiations while being seen as anything less than an equal partner, and will not pay any heed to a country who they feel is belittling them. We may not like the other side, but we need to recognize that we will be able to gain more concessions from them when and only when both sides abide by two magical words which have been said by President Obama, President Rouhani, and even Ayatollah Khamenei: mutual respect. We also cannot treat these negotiations as if we are the ones who have nothing to lose. If Congress doesn’t quickly realize that continuing to push these bills and resolutions, such as S. 1881 and this new S. Res. 328, will have dire consequences, then they will deal a devastating blow to the efforts to release Americans and advance security in the region.

Posted By Shervin Taheran

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