U.S. Should Talk to Iran, Says Bob Barr

For Immediate Release Friday, September 19, 2008

“While the Bush administration has steadfastly declined to engage in talks with the government of Iran, five former Secretaries of State – Republican and Democrat – recently exhibited a great deal more judgment and understanding of world affairs in calling for actual talks with Tehran,” Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr says.

‘Talking does not mean sacrificing U.S. interests. Rather, talking is a means to further U.S. interests,’ Barr explains.

On Monday Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, James A. Baker, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell came together at George Washington University to offer advice to the next president. ‘These individuals vary dramatically in politics, philosophy and temperament, but all agreed it was important for America to engage the nation that is one of the most important in the Middle East,’ adds Barr.

“Imagine if the U.S. had not had any contact with Moscow during the Cold War,’ says Barr. ‘The opportunity to resolve problems with the Soviet Union, and prevent them from turning into crises, would have been greatly diminished, if not lost entirely. And the likelihood of ultimately negotiating a peaceful end to the Cold War would have been very remote,’ Barr explains.

‘The most obvious reason to engage Iran is that the other options, especially military action, are so poor,’ Barr warns. ‘Military action would destabilize the entire Persian Gulf and beyond. American troops in Iraq likely would come under intense assault. And America’s reputation throughout the world would suffer.’

‘To take such a step without even attempting a diplomatic resolution would be foolhardy in the extreme,’ says Barr. ‘There is no guarantee of success, of course, but in 2003, Iran indicated its willingness to deal. The Bush administration refused to even entertain Tehran’s offer. The situation is even more critical now, five years later. We should wait no longer to engage Tehran.’

Barr says in any such discussions the U.S. must, of course, make its positions clear. At the recent forum, ‘Henry Kissinger, for one, emphasized that Washington needed to be clear in its objectives,’ Barr notes. ‘We should press for the end of any program to develop nuclear weapons. We also should encourage protection of human rights, including religious liberty. But we will be far more effective in achieving these goals if we are willing to engage Tehran and indicate our willingness to respect Iran’s interests and concerns in return,’ says Barr, who spent time in Iran when his family was posted there.

‘The failure to have serious and ongoing contact between the U.S. and Iranian governments makes any settlement much more difficult. One of the top priorities of a Barr administration would be to undertake a serious and substantive dialogue with Iran,’ says Barr.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org . The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.