US stance on Iran changed , Democrats Propose Bill for Political engagement


Barbara LeeJNN 21 Feb 2013 Washington DC : The Democrats in the US House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would demand the government establish a diplomatic envoy to Iran in an attempt to deal with Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

A sponsor of the legislation, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), said the government must end its “no contact” policy with Iran, which currently bars Iranian and US officials from holding direct talks, The Hill reported.

“We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. To do that, we must lift the ‘no contact’ policy and begin negotiations [with Iran],” she said.

A summary of the bill, called H.R. 783, noted that it would call on the new envoy to Iran to engage in “direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran in order to prevent war, and support human rights.”

However, it seems highly unlikely that Lee’s bill will win enough support in Congress to alter the US approach of imposing economic sanctions against Iran and pursue a new path of diplomacy.

The opponents of economic sanctions against Iran, such as Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), have said such bans would essentially put Washington on a path to eventual war with Tehran.

On February 7, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei rejected any talks with the United States under pressure and threats, saying, “An offer of talks makes sense only when the side [that makes the offer] shows its goodwill.”

Speaking at the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 2, US Vice President Joe Biden had said Washington was ready to hold direct talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.

The US has spearheaded several rounds of sanctions against Iran in recent years, based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran vehemently rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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