From a piece in The Washington Post by Bill Richardson entitled: Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran
Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war – a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility in the community of nations.
A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.
No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if they do that than if they don’t. This feat will take more than threats and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.
May we prove as skillful and persistent and dedicated in making peace as in making war!
I am encouraged by the opportunities presented by the regional conference called by the Iraqi leadership for March 10. The Bush administration is doing its best to minimize expectations for the conference and to make it clear that it is not changing its position on Iran, but it is a start. It is something new. It is hopeful … to get representatives from Iraq and the United States and Great Britain and Iran and Syria in the same room at the same time and talking with each other!
Let’s pray. Let’s pray for the unexpected, for steps — even the smallest of steps — toward defusing the war of threat and suspicion and pride between the leaders of our nation and of Iran before it becomes a war of bombs and death, and before the world becomes all the more terrifying a place for all of us.