Friday, December 10, 2010

Senate hawks push Obama on Iran

Five senators sent a letter to United States President Barack Obama on Monday warning the administration not to offer concessions in upcoming talks with Iran over its nuclear program. If Obama takes the advice, experts say, it could sink his engagement efforts with Tehran.

The letter, first reported by Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin, calls for zero enrichment on Iranian soil as a US pre-condition for any negotiated deal to end Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear programmed.

"[G]iven the government of Iran's patterns of deception and non-cooperation, its government cannot be permitted to maintain any enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future," said the letter. "We would strongly oppose any proposal for diplomat endgame in which Iran is permitted to continue these activities in any form."

Signed by senators Jon Kyl, Mark Kirk, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert Casey and Joe Lieberman, with John McCain reportedly later adding his name, the letter also called on Obama to "continue ratcheting up" US and international pressure on Iran.