Thirty-five prominent former U.S. diplomats and military officials have urged the U.S. administration to make a strong effort to initiate direct talks with Iran.
The signatories issued a report urging the U.S. president to make a greater effort to persuade Iran to address international concerns about its nuclear program by pushing for direct talks rather than just relying on sanctions.
The group, which includes members from both major U.S. political parties, says: "The United States should now dedicate as much energy and creativity to negotiating directly with Iran as it has to assembling a broad international coalition to pressure and isolate Iran.”
They add: “Only by taking such a rebalanced approach might the United States achieve its objectives with respect to Iran's nuclear program.”
While the report recognizes the success of economic sanctions in piling sanctions on Iran, it maintains that the orchestrated pressure may lead to a hardening of Iran’s resistance and further alienate Iranians from Americans due to hardships caused by the sanctions.
The report claims that any diplomatic move by the U.S. must be accompanied by “active steps” to convince the Iranian government that it does not seek to overthrow the regime.
The report also recommends cooperation on Afghanistan, Iraq and anti-drug efforts as a way of orienting diplomacy toward a nuclear agreement.
The signatories include prominent U.S. figures such as Michael Hayden, an ex-CIA director under president George W. Bush; Ryan Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.