Tuesday, December 09, 2008

US policy on Iran

From MSNBC 'Meet the Press' transcript for Dec. 7, 2008 with President-elect Barack Obama:

...MR. BROKAW: .... What are the circumstances under which you would open a dialogue with Iran?

PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, I've said before, I think we need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them that their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, that their funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything that we believe in and what the international community should accept, and present a set of carrots and sticks in, in changing their calculus about how they want to operate.

You know, in terms of carrots, I think that we can provide economic incentives that would be helpful to a country that, despite being a net oil producer, is under enormous strain, huge inflation, a lot of unemployment problems there. They could benefit from a more open economy and, and being part of the international economic system.

But we also have to focus on the sticks, and one of the main things that diplomacy can accomplish is to help knit together the kind of coalition with China and India and Russia and other countries that now do business with Iran to agree that, in order for us to change Iran's behavior, we may have to tighten up those sanctions. But we are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice and, and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or, or the easy way.

From UPI.com, Dec. 5, 2008:

Bush vows to deny Iran nuclear weapons

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush reiterated Friday his pledge that the United States would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

"We have made our bottom-line clear. For the safety of our people and the peace of the world, America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," Bush said in remarks prepared for the Saban Forum in Washington.

Bush said he looks forward to "a Middle East where our friends are strengthened and the extremists are discredited, where economies are open and prosperity is widespread, and where all people enjoy the life of liberty ... ."

The president said the United States is urging Mideast nations "to trust their people with greater freedom of speech, worship, and assembly," as well as advancing economic prosperity, quality healthcare, education and women's rights.

The United States has worked to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, including the establishment of two democratic states, Palestine and Israel, "living side-by-side in peace and security," Bush said.

Challenges remain in the region, he said, including state-sponsored terror, Iran's nuclear aspiration and oppressive governments.

"Yet the changes of the past eight years herald the beginning of something historic and new," Bush said. "I believe that the day will come when the map of the Middle East shows a peaceful, secure Israel beside a peaceful and democratic Palestine" and independent countries "bound together by ties of diplomacy, tourism, and trade."

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