Post-invasion Iraq / United States should negotiate with Iran

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Position: United States should negotiate with Iran

This position addresses the topic Post-invasion Iraq.

For this position

Quotes-start.png "It looks like a long shot now. And much will depend on the willingness of Iran to play ball. Yet all but the most extreme hardliners in Tehran have long sought dialogue with the US. Like Syria's leadership, what they really want from Washington is legitimacy and respect. More than current confrontationalism, such developments, if carefully nurtured, could ultimately advance the US aim of a democratic Middle East." Quotes-end.png
From Time for Bush to talk to Iran and Syria, by Simon Tisdall (The Guardian, October 25, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The only way in which America can now extricate itself from Iraq with some honor, while limiting the conflict there, is to appeal to Iraq's neighbors for help. They are the only states which have both the ability to rein in the groups fighting in Iraq and vital interests in preventing Iraq from breaking up completely." Quotes-end.png
From Time to talk to the bad guys, by Anatol Lieven (International Herald Tribune, November 9, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The governments of Syria and Iran do not wish the United States well. They relish the American quagmire in Iraq and have done all they can to help create it. But they may not want to see Iraq dissolve into all-out civil war, either. A regional firestorm could engulf them as well, and send waves of refugees their way. So it may be that the United States, the government of Iraq and the regimes in Syria and Tehran could have a common interest in keeping the lid on the civil war in Iraq." Quotes-end.png
From Talk to the enemy: U.S. should explore common interests with Syria, Iran, by The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board (The Salt Lake Tribune, November 23, 2006) ([ view])
Quotes-start.png "A permanent Gulf regional security dialogue could emerge that includes Syria and Iran, and the United States could undertake a role as regional security guarantor. Preliminary discussions should lead to a more intensive dialogue with Iran in which security assurances and nuclear programs are discussed." Quotes-end.png
From Next move in Iraq?, by Wesley Clark (USA Today, November 21, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "President Bush need not wait for the release of a commission report to convene a conference and invite all of the key players in Iraq's future: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, as well as representatives of the Gulf Coordination Council, the European Union and the U.N. Agreeing on a mutual duty to respect and uphold Iraq's territorial integrity would be the first goal." Quotes-end.png
From U.S. should lead Iraq summit, by Los Angeles Times editorial board (Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Some have asserted that meeting with Iran's leaders would legitimize Ahmadinejad, who is neither Iran's supreme leader nor someone whom Obama specifically promised to meet. Curiously, many critics then hype Ahmadinejad as a threat of historic proportions, thereby granting the stature they seek to deny. Iranian elections in mid-2009 could yield a less objectionable president; engaging Iran makes that more likely." Quotes-end.png
From The Wisdom In Talking, by John Kerry (The Washington Post, May 24, 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Iran seems to be interested in heading off a regional conflict between Sunni and Shiite movements. Syria, desperate to end its own isolation, has been advertising its willingness to help calm Iraq and to open peace talks with Israel." Quotes-end.png
From A Diplomatic Avenue, by The Washington Post editorial board (The Washington Post, March 1, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Ms. Rice's words Tuesday were right, but we'll now see whether she simply tossed them out to try to get $100 billion for the war or the administration truly understands that real dialogue with Iran and Syria is vital -- for the future of the region and for the future of the United States in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East." Quotes-end.png
From Talk of talks: Let's hope the U.S. is serious on Iran and Syria, by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 1, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles." Quotes-end.png
From The Road Home, by The New York Times editorial board (The New York Times, July 8, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Mr. Bush needs to use the present crisis to justify new and wide-ranging talks with Syria and Iran, and, if necessary, indirectly with Hamas and Hezbollah. These rank at the top of the world's nastiest and most untrustworthy negotiating partners, but they also happen to be the ones causing most of the trouble--and are, therefore, the ones we have to deal with." Quotes-end.png
From Time to Talk, by Leslie H. Gelb (The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "What the surge would do is put more American troops in harm's way, further undercut the morale of U.S. forces and risk further alienating elements of the Iraqi populace. American casualties would probably rise, at least temporarily, as more troops appeared on the streets -- as happened in the summer when a brigade from Alaska was extended and sent into Baghdad." Quotes-end.png
From The Smart Surge: Diplomacy, by Wesley Clark (The Washington Post, January 8, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The point I’m trying to make, though, is that the hostility between Iran and the U.S. since the overthrow of the shah in 1979 is not organic. By dint of culture, history and geography, we actually have a lot of interests in common with Iran’s people. And I am not the only one to notice that." Quotes-end.png
From Not-So-Strange Bedfellow, by Thomas Friedman (The New York Times, January 31, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "It's true that earlier attempts at engagement have produced few dividends. But what negotiations can do is diminish perceptions of U.S. arrogance and remind the world of the urgency of getting Iran to cooperate on issues of shared interest, from preventing state failure in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan to caring for Iraqi refugees." Quotes-end.png
From Rethinking Iran, by Samantha Power (Time, January 17, 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Because of the sectarian violence threatening to rip the country apart, it will be impossible to settle the civil war without thinking of Baghdad's more powerful neighbors, including Syria and Iran." Quotes-end.png
From The Time to Negotiate Is Now, by Robert K. Brigham (The Washington Post, January 14, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Mr. Bush has resisted calls to convene a meeting of Iraq’s neighbors to discuss ways to contain the crisis. There is no guarantee that Mr. Ahmadinejad can be persuaded that Iraq’s further implosion is not in Iran’s interest. But others in Tehran may have clearer heads. And any hope of driving a wedge between Iran and Syria will have to start by giving Damascus hope that there is a way in from the cold." Quotes-end.png
From Bullying Iran, by The New York Times editorial board (The New York Times, February 1, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Part of the resistance to negotiations with Iran may stem from distaste at dealing with the inflammatory Ahmadinejad. But these elections remind us that Ahmadinejad is not the key political figure in Tehran, despite his international bluster. Iran's system gives paramount power to its supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who controls foreign policy and the nuclear issue." Quotes-end.png
From Two tales suggest strategy in Iraq, by Trudy Rubin (The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 24, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "It dropped the sensible notion of using carrots and sticks at a time when there is some evidence that pragmatists may be gaining ground against the extremists in Tehran. If the US and Britain understood in the frozen depths of the cold war that they had to talk to their Soviet enemy, surely Iran is too a serious a player in today's Middle East to be addressed solely through the rhetoric of confrontation?" Quotes-end.png
From Rhetoric of confrontation, by The Guardian editorial board (The Guardian, December 22, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "So the Iraqi government, which is financed by American money and protected with American lives, can deal with the Syrians and the Iranians at the highest levels. But our own government cannot or will not. That is simply senseless." Quotes-end.png
From The madness of George, by Joe Conason (, December 1, 2006) (view)

Against this position

Quotes-start.png "What really bothers Mr. Bush's critics is his refusal to hold higher-level, higher-profile talks with Iran and Syria that would amount to a public-relations windfall for these regimes. They disregard the fact that the Bush administration -- like many of its predecessors -- has tried time and again to resolve differences with Tehran and Damascus at the most senior levels. With both governments, the result has been a nearly unbroken series of diplomatic failures dating back to Jimmy Carter's presidency." Quotes-end.png
From Talking to the rogues, by The Washington Times editorial board (The Washington Times, November 30, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Diplomatic appeasement won't work. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs who run the show in Tehran will only be emboldened and intensify their efforts to dominate the region and destroy those who stand in their way. Instead, it's time for a concerted effort to isolate, counter and help the Iranian people take down that regime from within." Quotes-end.png
From To stabilize Iraq, isolate Iran's mullahs, by Frank Gaffney (New York Daily News, November 30, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Of course, Baker may seek and Iran may offer public assurances that it won't develop nuclear weapons - the same worthless assurances it now passes out to the entire world. What will have changed is that America and Britain will be so engaged with Iran that they can't and won't bomb or even impose tough sanctions. In short, we can only get Iran's help on Iraq if we let Tehran get the bomb." Quotes-end.png
From Baker's Sellout Plan, by Dick Morris, Eileen McGann (New York Post, November 29, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Someone, please explain something to me: How does it follow that, because Islamic cultures reject democracy, we somehow need to talk to Iran and Syria? What earthly logic that supports talking with these Islamic terrorists would not also support negotiating with al Qaeda — a demarche not even a Kennedy School grad would dare propose? There’s none." Quotes-end.png
From Can We Talk?, by Andrew C. McCarthy (National Review, November 29, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Proponents of "engaging" Iran and Syria argue that it's against their interests to see chaos next door. As opposed to what? They probably think they're better off today than they would be if they had a strong and potentially hostile Iraq on their border, especially one allied with the United States. They're happy to see the U.S. bled dry and Iraq immobilized as a regional player." Quotes-end.png
From Iran and Syria aren't our friends in Iraq, by Max Boot (Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The proponents of appeasement failed the world in 1939 and they will also fail today. Namely, those political leaders here at home and abroad who preach "dialogue" with Iran and rapid redeployment from Iraq -- based on an artificial timetable, and regardless of the situation left behind -- are risking the same big mistake." Quotes-end.png
From The '39 parallel?, by Dan Burton (The Washington Times, November 27, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "It would be an excellent thing to have direct negotiations with Iran, for instance, with all matters on the table. But if the mullahs did not have to sacrifice their ongoing nuclear deception in order to get to that table, then all the efforts of the Europeans, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency to get them to do so would have been shown to be risible." Quotes-end.png
From From Beirut to Baghdad, by Christopher Hitchens (Slate, November 27, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "What our adversaries in the Middle East want from us is very simple: They want us out. Unless we are prepared to withdraw, not just from Iraq but from the entire region, and from elsewhere as well, we had better start figuring out how to pursue effectively--realistically--our interests and goals. This is true American realism. All the rest is a fancy way of justifying surrender." Quotes-end.png
From Surrender as 'Realism', by Robert Kagan, William Kristol (The Weekly Standard, November 22, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The message to those in search of elegant solutions is simple: This is a war, stupid! And what are the options in a war? One can fight to win. One can surrender to the enemy. One can panic and run away. These are the options in Iraq." Quotes-end.png
From War Has No 'Elegant Solutions', by Amir Taheri (New York Post, November 21, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "When we were having trouble in Bosnia, why didn’t we ask for help from neighborly Serbia? When we were trying to help El Salvador democratize, why didn’t we ask for help from the Sandinistas? When Kennedy was having trouble with Cuba, why didn’t he ask for help from the USSR? The only alternative to the surrenders on offer by the Democrats and by the “realist” Republicans is a renewed determination to win." Quotes-end.png
From Iraq, by Mona Charen (National Review, November 17, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Britain, France and Germany, working through the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, have engaged in nearly two years of diplomacy with Iran in an effort to get it to give up its outlaw nuclear program. It's brought little but contempt from Iran — and steadfast refusal to end its enrichment of uranium, as required by international law. Why think they'll now do anything we ask — particularly since Iran has repeatedly portrayed the U.S. as the "Great Satan"?" Quotes-end.png
From Get Tough On Iran, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, May 14, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Talkers dominate Washington, but the world is changed by doers. At present, the doers are on the side of our enemies. Negotiations have no power to fix Iraq or the greater Middle East. The series of debacles ahead, from Beirut to Baghdad and from Tel Aviv to Tehran, is going to prove just that. Again." Quotes-end.png
From Talk is Cheap, by Ralph Peters (New York Post, January 17, 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "No one was more pleased with Chamberlain's diplomacy than Hitler, for it proved that Germany was in the saddle, riding the democracies -- that the momentum was with Berlin, while London and Paris were flailing. The Baker panel's recommendations will bring similar satisfaction to Tehran and Damascus." Quotes-end.png
From The danger of engaging with the enemy, by Jeff Jacoby (The Boston Globe, December 6, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Presidents Carter and Reagan earlier tried engagement with the Ayatollah Khomeini, each time with disastrous consequences: the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979; the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986. One problem is that however sincere Iranian moderates may be in seeking an accommodation with the West, Iranian hardliners have proved equally intent on torpedoing any deals. The hardliners have consistently held the upper hand." Quotes-end.png
From Realism and Iran, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board (The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "So, as Iranians worry that their nation is becoming an international pariah and perhaps heading down the path of bankruptcy in the process, now is not the time for America to give in by offering direct talks with Ahmadinejad. That propaganda victory would only help him reclaim the legitimacy and stature that he is losing with his own people at home." Quotes-end.png
From The curtain is closing, by Victor Davis Hanson (Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The Iraqi Study Group says Iran also worries about spillover chaos in Iraq. That is laughable. The opposite is true. The present killing and violence in Iraq divert American attention away from its effort to go nuclear and its interests in Lebanon." Quotes-end.png
From Just smile at Iran and wait, don't talk, by Victor Davis Hanson (Chicago Tribune, December 15, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Iran and Syria have an overriding interest in chaos in Iraq -- which is precisely why they each have been abetting the insurgency and fanning civil war. Perhaps in some long-term future they will want a stable Iraq as a tame client state of the Syria-Iran axis. For now they want chaos. What in God's name will a negotiation with them yield?." Quotes-end.png
From This Is Realism?, by Charles Krauthammer (The Washington Post, December 1, 2006) (view)

Mixed on this position

Quotes-start.png "While talks with Tehran and Damascus are unlikely to achieve very much, we have no objection in principle to the idea of talking to these governments. After all, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, it makes little sense to talk only with people that we agree with. The real question is whether expanding dialogue with either of these governments is likely to yield peace or freedom in Iraq" Quotes-end.png
From What kind of rogue-state dialogue?, by The Washington Times editorial board (The Washington Times, November 22, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The U.S. goal of a broad and cohesive Iraqi government that would fairly balance Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish interests and be defended by a national Iraqi army would, if achieved, check Iranian ambitions. If Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad can advance that cause through talks with Iran, good. But it will be worth bearing in mind that Tehran has agreed to sit down with him for entirely different reasons." Quotes-end.png
From Why Iran Wants to Talk, by The Washington Post editorial board (The Washington Post, March 18, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The limits on Iranian influence are a double-edged sword. They mean that we cannot count on Iran to solve Iraq’s problems, but they also mean that we need not offer the Iranians the world in return for their assistance." Quotes-end.png
From Don't Count on Iran to Pick Up the Pieces, by Kenneth Pollack (The New York Times, December 8, 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png " So, while talking with Damascus and Tehran could achieve some results in Iraq, it will most likely come at a very high price. Neither Iran nor Syria is going to do anything for nothing, after all." Quotes-end.png
From Baker's Iraq Advice: Too High a Price, by Peter Brookes (New York Post, December 4, 2006) (view)