Send Senator Kerry to Iran With The Right Message


(This post also appears at The Race for Iran.)
Jay Solomon reports that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry is considering what would be the highest-level American visit to Tehran in thirty years.
The White House has endorsed such a trip.
This is a good idea – and an opportunity to stem the slide toward sanctions and ongoing antagonism that the Obama administration’s “engagement” policy appears headed.
But, of course, the key is not merely whether Senator Kerry goes to Iran but what message he delivers.
The message should be that the United States is ready to enter into comprehensive negotiations with the Islamic Republic that go beyond the nuclear issue and address all of the major bilateral issues along the lines of the ‘Grand Bargain‘ laid out by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett last year.
— Ben Katcher


11 comments on “Send Senator Kerry to Iran With The Right Message

  1. pauline says:

    Holy Bejeebers, Kerry’s actually doing something!!
    “Mom fights to be buried with soldier son”
    “It was the most devastating blow that I could ever get,” Anderson said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I just miss him so much. Just being with him will give me some sort of peace.”
    “Every day I wake up and I look at his pictures and I cry,” she said. “It doesn’t get any easier. Maybe down the road I will be able to deal with it a little bit better, but right now it’s not easy.”
    VA spokeswoman Laurie Tranter said Anderson’s waiver request was not granted because it was made “in advance of her time of need, which is VA’s policy for all such waiver requests.” Tranter noted, however, that just in case, Corey Shea’s remains “were placed at a sufficient depth to accommodate her future burial.”
    Anderson doesn’t understand why her request can’t be granted now. She is challenging the VA’s burial policy with support from her congressman, Rep. Barney Frank, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.


  2. nadine says:

    Barry Rubin:
    The proposal to send Senator John Kerry to Iran is one more signal that the Obama Administration seemingly will do anything to avoid, or at least postpone, increasing sanctions on Iran because of that country’s nuclear weapons’ drive. Such a move can only be taken by Tehran as further proof–in its eyes–of American cowardice. Obviously, this gambit would gain nothing.
    In addition, the choice of Kerry is a very bad one. Despite his distinguished appearance and unearned reputation for international sophistication, Kerry is known in the Senate as one of its dumbest and least accomplished members. In 30 years, he has not initiated a single idea, piece of legislation, or even memorable speech.
    And, of course, he would be eager to make some—almost any–deal for his own personal glory and reluctant to be really tough lest he, and the Obama Administration which he supports, would appear to be a failure.
    This is a terrible choice and it sends a dangerous signal. Hopefully, Iran’s regime will reject it. Nowadays we are reduced to hoping that our enemies’ arrogance and intransigence will force democratic governments to get a backbone.


  3. pauline says:

    Kerry is probably practicing his lines now.
    “The United States is ready to enter into comprehensive negotiations with you, IF, you people agree to grow tomatoes for Hunts ketchup European distribution division. . .”


  4. nadine says:

    From Stratfor
    The following is further information from Tehran regarding the events of Dec. 26 and what can be expected to happen tomorrow.
    Around 3 p.m., it had became clear to the protesters that they could not gather and congregate in one spot and the chances of arrest were high. At this time, word came that former President Mohammad Khatami was giving a talk at approximately 6 p.m. at the old compound where the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, lived in the 1980s — known as Jamkaran — which is in the affluent north part of the city. Khomeinei’s family has been quietly leaning in favor of the protestors. Thousands of protesters started taking cabs, buses or the metro to the Jamkaran mosque-residence and security personnel also relocated to the scene.
    Around 5:45 p.m., the area was filled with people. There were an estimated 1,000 people outside and 800 inside. There was a great disturbance all around but security personnel were keeping a wary distance from the mosque itself. This was for one reason: They didn’t want to be seen as desecrating the Khomeinis’ residence to the extent possible.
    As more people started coming, with many arriving from previous street battles a few hours earlier, they started chanting. Scathing slogans were raised likening Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Umayyad Caliph Yazid, whose forces were responsible for the killing of Imam Hussein (the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad) in A.D. 680 in the Battle of Karbala on the first Ashura. By 6:30 p.m., enough security people had congregated and the dangers of the gathering turning into a huge demonstration were high enough that the security forces charged the protesters. Khatami’s talk was stopped midpoint, and threats were broadcast to attendees via loudspeaker. Despite the warnings, as many as 4,000 people refused to disperse. They spread in Tajrish Square. By 9 p.m., sporadic demonstrations went on all over the area.
    The demonstrations tomorrow, Dec. 27, on the day of Ashura will likely be larger, but only by small increments — perhaps with 6,000-7,000 more persons. The regime’s show of force and application of brute force will probably prevent the protesters from threatening the regime’s existence, but there has been massive attrition of the security forces. For the first time since the founding of the Islamic republic, regular Muharram activities have been stopped at 9 p.m. — a major shift because usually they continue until the early morning hours.
    The derogatory sloganeering against Khamenei represents a psychological blow to the regime, and is gradually undermining the foundations of the regime. Discord among the leadership is reportedly reaching critical levels. Meanwhile, the number of protesters has remained steady in this latest wave of demonstrations. What happens Dec. 27 will be very telling in terms of where things are headed for regime stability.


  5. Pahlavan says:

    I guess these days “the left” is also contaminated with voters that were life long republicans. But more importantly, save the human rights rhetoric… That didn’t seem to be an issue with you and your leadership when Darfur’s women and children were being raped and maimed by the hundreds of thousands, not to mention our past actions toward Iran which you intentionally like to turn a blind eye to. Face it, the reason the hawks don’t want to engage in talks is because some dirty laundry may surface, otherwise what’s there to lose?


  6. nadine says:

    William dB. Mills is the perfect illustration of how the left is in bed with radical Islam. He is perfectly willing to see Iran as an innocent put-upon lamb – the human rights of political protesters, women, gay (remember, there are none in Iran, Ahmedinejad told us so), the rights of Lebanese, Gazans, Yemenis, Syrians suffering at the hands of Iranian-led and funded terrorist proxy armies – all these are set at nought, thrown under the bus as it were.
    Yes, William dB. Mills is the perfect “Modern Liberal.”
    Neither modern nor liberal. Just driven by hatred of America and America’s allies into bed with the vilest of bedfellows.
    Remember Neda Soltan!


  7. William deB. Mills says:

    Iran does not want what one might call a regional apartheid political system in which Israel can have nuclear weapons while Iran cannot; Israel can attack neighbors at will while Iran cannot even provide military assistance to its allies; and Iran continues to be criticized for its domestic political system because it is out of step with the U.S.-centric international political system. Any American emissary to Tehran must be prepared to discuss these issues (see
    The urgency for face-to-face talks is great; U.S. war party is far from dead. The urgency is also great because political conditions in Iran are getting steadily worse, empowering the most extremist elements. Extremists who see the world as black or white and worship the use of force have great power on both sides. But that does not mean, indeed perhaps that is precisely why, we should step gently down the road toward resolution of the Iranian-U.S. nuclear dispute. Now is the time for broad, quiet, detailed technical talks—perhaps mediated by Ankara–to lay out mutually beneficial solutions not just to the nuclear dispute but to the basic contradictions in our respective concepts of acceptable Iranian and America roles in the Mideast.


  8. kotzabasis says:

    It’s impossible to conceive that after the series of rebuffs by Iran to Obama’s diplomatic overture that the White House would “endorse’ this “highest-level American visit to Tehran,” in the person of John Kerry, with a new “message.” In the context of this Iranian rebuff the U.S. PERSISTENCE to continue its attempt to engage in diplomacy by sending its high plenipotentiary John Kerry to the Mullah-Land will be sending just one “message” to the Mullahcracy, the perception of the furthering decrepitude and weakening of the Obama administration. Within such perception it’s beyond comprehension that anyone could believe that the Iranian regime, even in the context of “comprehensive negotiations,” would abandon its strategic goal to acquire nuclear weapons. And such potential endorsement of John Kerry to visit Tehran shows quite clearly, that President Obama is surrounded by a coterie of unimaginative and inept advisors.


  9. Pahlavan says:

    Sure you can! Pirates and racists write, twist words or believe all kinds of self serving nonsense. Translations of Ahmadinejads speeches are as credible as the propaganda websites that hawks rely on to portray him as an ogre.


  10. nadine says:

    Recent remarks by the “rational actor” Ahmadinejad, who will surely give Senator Kerry’s message the full weight it deserves:
    Monday, 07 December 2009
    “DUBAI (Al Arabiya)
    Ahmadinejad says US planning to prevent coming of Mahdi
    US wants to stop mankind’s savior: Iran leader
    Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he has documented evidence that the United States is doing what it can to prevent the coming of the Mahdi, the Imam that Muslims believe will be ultimate savior of mankind, press reports said Monday.
    “We have documented proof that they [U.S.] believe that a descendant of the prophet of Islam will raise in these parts [Middle East] and he will dry the roots of all injustice in the world,” the hard-line president said, addressing an audience of families of those killed during the 1980’s war against Iraq.
    ” They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule ”
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    “They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule.”
    Iranian news website Tabnak said Ahmadinejad further revealed plots by both the East and the West to wipe out the Islamic Republic.
    “They have planned to annihilate Iran. This is why all policymakers and analysts believe Iran is the true winner in the Middle East,” he went on to proclaim, adding that they were after Iranian oil and other natural resources. ”
    You couldn’t make this stuff up.


  11. nadine says:

    Ahmedinijad has spent the whole year spitting in our face while racing for nukes. How far do you want to degrade the power and prestige of the US begging this dictator to please, please talk to us?
    And not a word of support for the brave demonstrators in the street defying the dictatorship. And now Syria owns Lebanon again since we didn’t do a thing to back up Sa’ad Hariri.


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