Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

John Kerry’s Positions on Iran: Interaction or Confrontation?

John Kerry

U.S President Barack Obama recently nominated Senator John Kerry to be the next secretary of state. If confirmed by the Senate, Kerry will replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as head of the State Department.

John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, in office since 1985. He is the ninth most senior United States Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to President George W. Bush.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said that Iran is one of the most important challenges and issues of America’s foreign policy. So, the replacement of highest U.S foreign policy establishment’s official could have influences on Washington’s future relations with Tehran.

Although it is not clear that what changes on U.S stances toward Tehran will be created by this appointment, but reviewing Kerry’s past positions and statements on Iran could partly shed light on future prospects.

However, it should be noted that rising to a high position normally makes officials to change their past views, because, henceforth they need to behave under a defined and clear framework with less independence. For example, John Kerry as a Secretary of State is not allowed to say everything or do any action and he is obligated to follow overall U.S policies, for example on Iranian nuclear program.

One of the sources which could provide us with useful knowledge on Kerry’s past positions on Iran is Wikileaks Documents.

To this end, more than 250,000 US embassy cables released by Wikileaks on “John Kerry & Iran” were searched.

The results of the search are summarized and categorized by topic as following:

Kerry & Iranian Nuclear Program

According to a confidential document dated 4 Feb 2005, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier received Senator Kerry for an hour-long discussion focused on Iraq and EU-3 agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons:

“Kerry said he believed Iran already was a hot spot, and noted that he had urged full U.S. engagement in EU3 efforts to persuade Iran to renounce its nuclear weapons program. Some would argue that the appearance of an accommodating EU3 needing to satisfy an insistent United States (a “good cop, bad cop” ploy) had helped advance the negotiations. Kerry said that while this may be true, it did not appear that the Administration had intentionally set up this dynamic. Kerry said his conversations in the region had convinced him that Iran remains committed to a nuclear weapons program, but agreed that there were no good alternatives to negotiating.”

According to another confidential document dated 20 Jan 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Codel Kerry in his Ministry of Trade Office:

“Senator Kerry assured Olmert that broad international concern exists about Iran, noting that in recent meetings, the political leadership of India and Afghanistan expressed concern to him about Iran.”

According to a confidential document dated 27 Feb 2009, Senator John Kerry emphasized a new U.S. approach to diplomacy in the Middle East during a February 21 meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad that lasted more than two hours:

“The U.S. will also take strong positions on issues such as nuclear weapons.”I’ve recommended the U.S. reduce its nuclear arsenal to 1,000 warheads,” Kerry said, adding that he will also try to get Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), to push the nuclear fissile material control treaty, and to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran will see a different climate and its window for making choices and decisions is moving.”

According to another confidential document dated 23 Feb 2010, Senator Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), joined by Ambassador/E Chief, and SFRC staff member Dr. Jonah Blank met February 14 with the Amir of Qatar, Hamad bn Khalifa Al Thani:

“Many scientific and technological transformations are underway, noted the Senator, “but Iran misinterprets the road to being a great power and the degree to which the international community is concerned about Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.” We are at a “fork in the road,” and Iran must choose between confrontation or building partnerships. If the latter, we can open up new opportunities for cooperation in the sciences, technology, education, robotics, energy and other ongoing transformations. Going back to the speech he had delivered in Doha the previous evening, Senator Kerry told the Amir that 17 former U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense had come out in favor of eliminating nuclear weapons. Every stop closer to realizing that goal is a sign of progress, but “no one believes Iranian nukes get us closer to that goal.” Senator Kerry reported that leaders of regional Arab countries tell me they want nuclear weapons if the Iranians have them.”

Kerry & Iran-US Talks

According to a confidential document dated 04 Feb 2005, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier received Senator Kerry for an hour-long discussion focused on Iraq and EU-3 agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons:

“Kerry said his own intention, had he been elected president, was to pursue front channel and back channel contacts with the Iranian regime.”

According to a confidential document dated 23 Feb 2010, Senator Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), joined by Ambassador/E Chief, and SFRC staff member Dr. Jonah Blank met February 14 with the Amir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani:

“Senator Kerry lamented that every communication the current Administration has attempted to the Government of Iran has gone back channel and been met with no response. There have been non-U.S. initiatives, too. Again, no success. The Chairman observed that the Iranians are scared to talk. The Supreme Ayatollah had met with Russian President Putin, but seems not inclined to meet with other political leaders. Our instinct is that we need to find a way to talk to him Your instinct is right, replied the Amir. The U.S. needs to talk directly with senior Iranian officials. The Amir then asked, “What if I talk to the Iranian President. What would you have me say?” (C) Senator Kerry responded, “The U.S. seeks serious discussion and sought to create a new foundation for a relationship based on Iran’s non-confrontational compliance with IAEA requirements and other mutual interests.” Those interests include dealing with drug-running, the Taliban, and illicit trade. The Chairman told the Amir he feared that Iran still thinks it is dealing with the 1953 America that tried to overthrow the Iranian government. Senator Kerry stressed that the U.S. “would love to have that dialogue.” The U.S. respects Iranian civilization — talent, art, culture, etc. It is crazy to continue on this collision course. The region needs schools and jobs, emphasized the Chairman, not another war.”

Kerry & Iran’s Regional Relations

According to a confidential document dated 4 Feb 2005, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier received Senator Kerry for an hour-long discussion focused on Iraq and EU-3 agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons:

“Noting the CODEL’s visit to Damascus and meeting with President Bashar Al-Asad, Senator Kerry commented that Asad’s alliance with Iran was a matter of convenience, Asad had been pushed into Iran’s arms by Syria’s isolation.”

According to a confidential document dated 27 Feb 2009, Senator John Kerry emphasized a new U.S. approach to diplomacy in the Middle East during a February 21 meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad that lasted more than two hours:

“Kerry responded that nobody was suggesting that Syria and Iran would not have a relationship, but there was a perception that Iran is sending funds and weapons to Hizballah. There are more weapons there now than before 2006 and there are missiles in Hizballah’s stocks, as well as Syria’s, that have changed the peace process with Israel.”

According to a confidential document dated 23 Feb 2010, The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry accompanied by Ambassador, P/E Chief and SFRC staff Frank Lowenstein and Fatema Sumar, met February 13 with Prime Minister (and Foreign Minister) of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (HBJ):

“Turning to Iran, Senator Kerry said he understood Qatar’s need to find the right balance in dealing with bigger neighbors, especially Iran given the natural gas field both share. Due to the working relationship Qatar maintains with Iran, the Chairman asked HBJ for his advice as the international community becomes more serious about economic sanctions against Iran. On Lebanon, Senator Kerry asked if Iran and Hizballah are ratcheting up their weapons stockpiles as part of Iran’s war against Israel. HBJ affirmed that is the case.”

Reviewing the above documents, we found interesting and different results. However, we prefer to firstly ask the opinions of our readers before reaching a conclusion. Therefore, please share your comments with us.

 

 

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/john-kerrys-foreign-policy-credentials/story?id=18037023

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerry

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=06TELAVIV4971

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=05PARIS734

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=06TELAVIV299

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=09DAMASCUS158

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=09DAMASCUS160

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=10DOHA70

http://cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=10DOHA71

fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPrint this pageEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*