The letter authored by Kucinich, Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, and sent to the President today, states:
Dear Mr. President:
We, the undersigned, write to urge you to initiate direct diplomatic negotiations at the highest level with Iran.
The U.S. should strive immediately to engage the leadership of Iran in diplomacy to address Iran's capability to enrich uranium and its ambitions to possess nuclear weapons. This dialogue with Iran could and should be expanded to include Iran's support for terrorist organizations and Iran's failure to recognize the State of Israel.
There is reason to believe that a diplomatic initiative of this sort could yield results. Over two years ago, Iran attempted to improve diplomatic relations with an offer to end its support for Palestinian terrorist organizations, convert Hezbollah to a socio-political organization, and potentially recognize the State of Israel, in exchange for diplomatic and trade relations. (Financial Times, March 17, 2004). At that time, your Administration rebuffed the Iranian offer and that initiative died. More recently, the Supreme Leader expressed interest in negotiating directly with the United States about Iraq. (BBC, March 22, 2006)
Venerable American statesmen have called upon the United States to negotiate directly with Iran. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote recently, "the United States should not negotiate through proxies...it must be possible to devise a multilateral venue for nuclear talks with Tehran that would permit the United States to participate..." (Washington Post, May 16, 2006). Former National Security Adviser Zbignew Brzezinski called for direct talks with Iran on CNN's "Late Edition" (May 14, 2006). Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also proposed direct talks with Iran (Associated Press, May 10, 2006).
The U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Iran over two decades ago. Thirty-four years ago, an American President mounted a diplomatic initiative to repair similarly severed relations with another nation. President Nixon made his historic trip to China in a period of high tension, after the U.S. had not held direct talks with the People's Republic of China for two decades. We believe that this may be a historic moment for your Presidency, and we hope that you seize the opportunity.
The letter was signed by 70 Members of Congress including 9 Ranking Members of Committees and the Chair of the Democratic Caucus.
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