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Clinton: Iran Engagement Still in the Offering

Updated 1:22 p.m.
By Glenn Kessler
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reaffirmed the administration's interest in engaging Iran in the wake of the disputed election results and what she called a "deplorable and unacceptable" crackdown on dissent.

"Neither the president nor I have any illusions that direct dialogue with the Islamic Republic will guarantee success," Clinton said in an early afternoon speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, according to an advance version of her remarks. "But we also understand the importance of trying to engage Iran and offering its leaders a clear choice: whether to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path to further isolation."

Clinton, however, reiterated that time is running short for Iran to respond. "The time for action is now. The opportunity will not remain open indefinitely," she said. The Group of Eight nations, meeting in Italy last week, set the September meeting of the United Nations General Assembly as a target date for an Iranian answer before the nations seeking to negotiate with Iran on its nuclear program turn to discussing increased sanctions.

"We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage," Clinton said. "Yet some suggest that this is a sign of weakness or naiveté -- or acquiescence to these countries' repression of their own people. That is wrong. The President and I believe that refusing to talk to countries rarely punishes them. And as long as engagement might advance our interests and our values, it is unwise to take it off the table. Negotiations can provide insight into regimes' calculations and the possibility -- even if it seems remote -- that a regime will, eventually, alter its behavior in exchange for the benefits of acceptance into the international community."

The State Department had billed Clinton's speech this afternoon as a "major address," though much of it addressed themes similar to those Clinton outlined in her Senate confirmation statement.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 15, 2009; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , National Security  
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Comments


I think I see a new reset button on the making.A nice shiny big new one that squashes the lives and hopes of the dissidents and protesters with one push.

Posted by: alaric2 | July 16, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

What are Hillary Clinton's qualifications in dealing with Iran? How familiar is she with the culture, the people, the millenia of rich Iranian history? Before she even starts she is condescending just like the overall American attitude towards any country other than their own. Hillary Clinton is a wholly blunt instrument about to step off the edge of a cliff pushed by her utter ignorance of the depth involved in the Iranian geopolitical dynamic.

America, the most miliitant nation in the world with the highest number of nuclear bombs in the world, dictating terms to Iran that they can not develop military nuclear capacity. A country who stands by while its government appointed supreme court dictates its president instead of its people is now criticising election fraud in Iran. Who massacres its dissenters - Waco, beats its people to a pulp because of the color of their skin - Rodney King, pumps 50 bullets into a man because he is black - Sean Bell, who turns a blind eye to the bloody and fatal public protests around the world to their President's (Bush) visit in many countries, whose government lies to their people so they can justify the ravage and rape of one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, Iraq, for their oil and then subject their captured 'suspects' to the worst form of inhumane torture electrifying their genitals and forcing them to have sex with animals on camera, and who assasinates their own president when he does not fall in with the party line - Kennedy,... always fulfills their role as the hypocrites of the world by the high and mighty nation of justice they purport to be.

Why would any nation want to talk with a people with the attitude displayed here from these anti-Iran responders. Do not talk with Iran then. Who would want to talk with a condescending, rude and arrogant society whose uncivilized understanding is limited to the imposition of pressure and threatening with firepower. America is already at war in 2 countries. Start a war with a 3rd. It is the only way you understand. Among the culturtal giants of our world this is the failing of your fledging culture. A flaw to which you have always been blind to and your unending arrogance restricts you from overcoming.

As long as the awesome Big Macs, striking 60 inch plasma TVs and tricked out Hummers keep on coming liberty is safe. The mind occupied and your smile wide ear to ear chanting this is the greatest country in the world. Who gives a damn about any other country. Yes, that is what makes a nation hopelessly blind and globally despised --- forsaking intelligent and civilized involvement for terms dictated to other peoples at the end of the barrel of your gun.

Posted by: ClaireJo | July 16, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Forgive me but I must shout..NO NO NO NO.
I don't understand. Iran has accused us of meddling in their internal affairs. They have openly insulted our leaders and their recent elections have been fraudulent and fixed. They arrest people for protesting and more than threaten them and their familes with violent punishment and death. Why are we now "still open" to talking to this disputed government?
PLEASE, PLEASE wait until the Iranian people are no longer brutalized and a legitimate president is in place.

Posted by: Granny31 | July 16, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Obama offers to bend over one more time.

Posted by: roberth | July 15, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

who is this Hillary Clinton person?

Posted by: djrhood | July 15, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

There are many nations that don't want anything to do with the USA, don't want its money, don't want its interference or its bullying. Iran is one of those nations.

The Iranians are going about their legal business without needing anything from the Americans and this is what is rankling the White House. The Iranians know that they have the legal and inalienable right to enrich as much uranium as they desire, so they don't have to pay any attention to American demands that they cease doing so.

If I was the Iranian president, I would just do one simple thing. I would challenge President Obama to a public debate and then produce a copy of the NPT and demand that he point out the part that says that Iran has to abandon its INALIEBNABE RIGHT to enrich uranium.

Of course there is no such requirement and Iran is well within its legal rights to enrich as much uranium as it wants. Then I would look Obama in the eye and tell him that since there is no legal requirement for Iran to cease its nuclear work, no legal requirement for Iran to permit more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants than Iran is permitting, no legal requirement for Iran to try to satisfy the so-far baseless accusations of the Americans, then the ball is in Obama's court.

I would say, "Mr Obama, now that I have shown that Iran has every legal right to continue to do what it has been doing, please show me one LEGAL reason why Iran shoulc cease doing this. If you can't, this debate is obviously over."

Of course the Americans could not do this, so this would expose them as warmongering bullies and thugs. But we all know that already.

Posted by: ziggyzap | July 15, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

How can such paragons of virtue such as us negotiate with such low lives as the Iranians?
I hear the Iranians torture, water board, hood and otherwise humiliate their prisoners. They also invade oil rich countries on false pretexts of WMDs probably attempting to steal their oil. I believe they have caused deaths of hundreds of thousands including women and children.
Sheesh!

Posted by: qualquan | July 15, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ya' might want to consider a less "Anglo-Saxon" looking Secretary of state. Maybe one of Her deputies. 'Am a brain a dead' doesn't like Anglo Saxes' if one can believe what he actually said recently. And no, he did not 'specify male or female.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 15, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse


Ask Gees said:

Because Barrak Hussain Obama is a muslim.
------------
Eric Prince in only an intellect in Dick Cheney's fantasy world where men are men and Dick Cheney is a leader of intellect and daring.

In the real world, he's a insipid mediocre failure who can't compete, a guy who is way in over his head.

Why in the world would we answer insane, mindless, intellectually mediocre terror-filled belligerence with more of the same?

How is war fought?

Are we strategically and intellectually no more than Iran or Israel?

You don't get it, do you?

ROTFLMAO.

Last 8 years, cause and effect, slip your mind?

Or didn't you notice?

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | July 15, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

""But we also understand the importance of trying to engage Iran and offering its leaders a clear choice: whether to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path to further isolation."

Where before I was in favor of dialog with Iran, I no longer am unless they are willing to provide documentation of their election results. It might be more more helpful to the people of Iran to make a statement that we will not be engaging in a dialog with this 'government' unless/until .... rather than still sitting down at the table with them. I now think that that gives them more legitimacy that they should have.

Posted by: mike21 | July 15, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand. Iran has accused us of meddling in their internal affairs. They have openly insulted our leaders and aggressively opposed our policies. They consider us to be an enemy. At least to some degree, their recent elections appear to have been fraudulent and fixed. They arrest people for protesting and threaten them and their familes with violent punishment and death. Why are we now "still open" to having our butts kicked by these autocratic extremists? Have we forsaken Israel altogether? Have we no pride? Why, why, why would we do this. I'm ashamed of us. Again.

Posted by: qball43 | July 15, 2009 11:37 AM


Because Barrak Hussain Obama is a muslim.

Posted by: askgees | July 15, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage," Clinton said. "Yet some suggest that this is a sign of weakness or naiveté -- or acquiescence to these countries' repression of their own people. That is wrong. The President and I believe that refusing to talk to countries rarely punishes them. And as long as engagement might advance our interests and our values, it is unwise to take it off the table. Negotiations can provide insight into regimes' calculations and the possibility -- even if it seems remote -- that a regime will, eventually, alter its behavior in exchange for the benefits of acceptance into the international community."

Typical Obama administration rhetoric. Up goes the strawman that talking is weakness, and POW hillary knocks that strawman down. The problem with strawmen is that they do not represent the actual crtiticism. They merely state a criticism Clinton can defeat. The 2nd strawman...not talking punishes. Good God where does she get this garbage?

Look at what talks got us in N. Korea. We talked and talked and talked and what did that buy us? Violation after violation.

It is not talking that makes you weak, it is appeasing them with concessions based upon talks that makes you naieve and weak. We concede something to N.Korea in an effort to appease, and gain a temporary agreement that they then later break at their conveinance. It is not the act of talking that is weak, it is the appeasment.

For instance with Russia, for whom missile defense is a severe deterrant to Putins ability to threaten his neighbors, appeasing him by giving him missile defense technology is the very kind of naive talk that weakens us.

Our history of talks with these rogue bad boy nations is relevant to the discussion, and in as much as Obama wants to reset and ignore the history of talks, Obama is being ignorant and stupid because he is failing to learn valuable lessons from history, and compromising our position as a super power in order to appease.

When you see Clinton use strawmen like this, it is no wonder why you see Obama use teleprompters, and screen real questions from "town halls"...it is because their only intention is to defeat easy strawmen. They avoid real debate. They shield themselves from valid criticism in order to maintain the illusion, and the MSM just goes along with it.

Posted by: Wiggan | July 15, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Why are we now "still open" to having our butts kicked by these autocratic extremists
------------

Well, we're not spoiled, stupid teenage children, right?

If Clinton and Obama were to mirror Iran, they'd be Cheney, (but smarter, not that it would matter because to fight like Iran or Israel for that matter, is to fail for so many reasons), and Cheney was the stupidest thing in US history, and anyway, Cheney HARMED the US, strategically.

Oh, wait, you're a neocon?

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | July 15, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Wapo said:

'The BND did not return two calls from Reuters seeking comment on the report.'

A bit like my letters unanswered from the Whitehouse regarding a revision of the NIST report in light of new evidence on the collapse of the towers & 7WTC.

Posted by: coiaorguk | July 15, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Ahmedinajhad and the Mullahs could one day find themselves out of power and in jail, and I swear Obama and Clinton would STILL be hoping for "meaningful dialogue" with them.

Posted by: pgr88 | July 15, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand. Iran has accused us of meddling in their internal affairs. They have openly insulted our leaders and aggressively opposed our policies. They consider us to be an enemy. At least to some degree, their recent elections appear to have been fraudulent and fixed. They arrest people for protesting and threaten them and their familes with violent punishment and death. Why are we now "still open" to having our butts kicked by these autocratic extremists? Have we forsaken Israel altogether? Have we no pride? Why, why, why would we do this. I'm ashamed of us. Again.

Posted by: qball43 | July 15, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

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