Friday, April 21, 2006

Harry Reid calls for diplomatic recognition of Iran

Jim Geraghty, TKS, The National Review:
Well, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid may not have realized he was calling for the U.S. to recognize Iran’s mullahs as their legitimate leaders and for the U.S. to formally reestablish a diplomatic relationship. But it’s hard to see how the administration could follow his advice without doing just that:
The Bush administration is relying too heavily on other countries in the international effort to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, according to Sen. Harry Reid.

Reid, D-Nev., said the administration should be taking the lead, but instead is relying on Germany, France and Great Britain to convince Iran to end its uranium enrichment program.

"It is hard to comprehend," Reid said Tuesday in Reno. "We should be involved at trying to arrive at a diplomatic solution. ... Not just these three countries."

Reid said the Middle East is a "powder keg" because of U.S. failures in Iraq, the rise of fundamentalism and the recent election of Hamas in Palestine.

"Our not being involved diplomatically in trying to solve the situation in Iran shows the Bush failure in foreign policy there and elsewhere."

And he said the U.S. has no military option in Iran.

"We don't have the resources to do it" because of the ongoing war in Iraq," he said. READ MORE
But as you will recall, there currently are no diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran. We haven't had one since they (including, reportedly, the current President) took over our embassy - invading sovereign American soil - and took 52 of our citizens hostage for 444 days. If we need to send them a message, we do it through the Swiss embassy in Tehran and they talk to us through the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

I realize that Reid is not alone; there are several in the political and diplomatic community, including a former hostage, who wish to reestablish relations with Iran.

But it has long been held that U.S. policy is to refuse to negotiate with terrorists. And aside from the terrorist action of taking our embassy personnel hostage, the Iranian leadership is not merely the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorists; they’ve struck at U.S. targets before.

As the 9/11 Commission report stated:
In June 1996, an enormous truck bomb detonated in the Khobar Towers residential complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that housed U.S. Air Force personnel. Nineteen Americans were killed, and 372 were wounded. The operation was carried out principally, perhaps exclusively, by Saudi Hezbollah, an organization that had received support from the government of Iran. While the evidence of Iranian involvement is strong, there are also signs that al Qaeda played some role, as yet unknown.
But yes, Mr. Minority Leader, let’s sit down and have a nice long chat with them. Any volunteers to go meet the Mullahs? Careful, U.S. diplomats who go into Tehran sometimes have difficulty leaving.