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Admiral Fallon and Iran
The March 14 editorial "A Failing Campaign" itself failed to see where U.S. policy toward Iran has gone wrong; sanctions, threats of force and isolation have not led to regime change in Iran or compelled Iran to acquiesce to U.S. demands. In fact, U.S. policy has strengthened the conservatives and weakened the reformists. U.S. threats also have jeopardized nonproliferation efforts.
By insisting that Iran submit to U.S. demands before talking can begin, the United States has protected those in Iran who do not want to work toward normal, peaceful relations by shielding them from any need to compromise.
Last year, I spoke with Iranians in Tehran, including former president Mohammad Khatami and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as part of an ongoing dialogue between Iranian leaders and U.S. religious leaders. I learned that reformists and conservatives need no sanctions or threats to go to the negotiating table. They love that the Bush administration deposed their enemy Saddam Hussein and elevated the political role of Shiites in Iraq. While they will make trouble for a U.S. administration that rejects them, they clearly would prefer talks leading to normalized relations and entry into the World Trade Organization, and say they would answer U.S. demands in exchange.
Sanctions and isolation have failed for nearly three decades. Another way is open to our government.
Quaker Friends Committee
on National Legislation