June 1, 2008  

Deadly silence

TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT, for its contrary Iran policy. State officials say they are committed to a diplomatic solution to pressure Iran to change its behavior on the nuclear issue. But the “diplomacy” they offer — negotiations with preconditions — is, by definition, undiplomatic. State representatives Jeffery Feltmann and Patricia McNerney, during a Senate hearing, said Iran had been presented with a “stark choice between two paths: confrontation and isolation; or cooperation and reward.” This offer has isolated Iran, for sure. But it also has isolated the U.S., which now has no eyes or ears within Iran. Asked about recent elections in Iran, Feltmann admitted: “We don’t know what’s going on inside Iran because we don’t have anyone there.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates remarked in his confirmation hearings that during the Cold War, the U.S. still maintained a dialogue with the Soviet Union. Almost 30 years of silence toward Iran has not worked; it’s time to talk.