I mentioned below that 24 US Senators, including both Montana Democrats, refused to join their 76 colleagues in urging greater pressure on Iran.
Our ever-vigilant friend David Smith wrote to both of these gentlemen, asking why.
He has received their answers. In the interest of fairness, I reprint them in full below.
[from Senator Max Baucus]
It is good to hear from you about American-Iranian relations. I appreciate you sharing your views on this important topic.
On June 15, 2013, the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani, a centrist candidate as their new President. President Rouhani campaigned on a moderate platform, speaking of moderate reforms without threatening Iran’s supreme leader or its institutions. The world is taking cues from this new President, but much of the international community has renewed hope for improved American-Iranian relations.
I still maintain my position toward Iran’s nuclear program — Iran cannot be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. I’m committed to keeping our country safe, and that’s why I helped pass tough sanctions legislation. We must work together with our partners in the European Union (EU), Japan, and South Korea to enact existing sanctions that will further reduce Iran’s oil sales. Please be assured that I understand your position and will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to work toward improved American-Iranian relations.
Knowing your thoughts about this important issue helps me better represent the best one million bosses in the world: the people of Montana. It’s important to me to know the concerns of folks back home, and I am glad to hear from you. Thanks again for sharing your concerns. Please contact me anytime by visiting my website at http://www.baucus.senate.gov. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
[from Senator Jon Tester]
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about Iran. It’s good to hear from you.
I believe we must continue to pursue diplomatic avenues and to engage our allies in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. While the country’s recent elections are encouraging, time will tell whether the government of Iran takes the right steps to end its nuclear program.
U.S. national security is always our primary concern and diplomacy is our first line of defense. Starting a new conflict in Iran would put our troops in more danger. War with Iran would also present significant financial challenges at a time when we need to reduce our debt.
As any legislation regarding Iran comes before me, I will keep your views in mind. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.
Mr. Smith notes that the tone of both is similarly optimistic regarding the new Iranian president, notwithstanding that the real leaders of Iran (the Mullahs led by Ayatollah Khameini, “Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution”) have not changed. The new “centrist” president’s “moderate reforms“, which so please Sen. Baucus, have included nothing about abandoning its nuclear weapons program.
The question of optimism versus reality is a legitimate one, I suppose. But the US has for too long let Iran play a stalling game, sending mixed signals and claiming to be open to diplomacy, while every day their uranium centrifuges whirl them closer to being a nuclear power. An ideological, apocalyptic, anti-Semitic nuclear power dedicated to dominance in the region and to the destruction of Israel and the United States.
Still, as Sen. Tester says, “War with Iran would also present significant financial challenges at a time when we need to reduce our debt.” How reassuringly Chamberlainesque! We just can’t afford to confront lunatic regimes committed to aggression.
But we shouldn’t worry. As Sen. Tester further points out, “time will tell whether the government of Iran takes the right steps to end its nuclear program.” Apparently, the past DECADE of Iranian double-dealing isn’t clear enough.
So how much more time has the world got?