Tags: Kerry | Seeks | Trip | to Iran

Kerry Seeks Trip to Iran

Thursday, 24 Dec 2009 10:41 AM

By Dan Weil

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Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is trying to arrange a visit to Iran, and White House officials indicate they support the idea.

If Kerry makes the journey, he would be the first high-level U.S. official to publicly visit Iran since the country’s revolution 30 years ago.

"This sounds like the kind of travel a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee would — and should — undertake," a White House official told The Wall Street Journal.

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He added that it’s Kerry’s own idea. The senator needs White House approval to make the trip.

Iran’s government is facing huge public protests against its dictatorial ways. And the Obama administration has threatened stronger sanctions if Iran doesn’t stop its nuclear weapons program.

Some experts are worried a visit by Kerry would hurt the opposition movement by giving legitimacy to a regime that denies basic rights to its own citizens and favors the demolition of Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of government opponents protested in the streets this week after the death of a reformist cleric.

"We've eschewed high-level visits to Iran for the last 30 years. I think now, when the Iranian regime's fate is less certain than ever, is not the best time to begin," Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at Washington's Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Journal.

Hossein Askari, a professor at George Washington University and former adviser to Iranian governments, agrees. "The wrong message would be sent to the Iranian people by such a high-level visit: The U.S. loves dictatorial regimes," he told The Journal.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says the Obama administration’s policy, just like the Bush administration before it, basically accepts the idea of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

And he’s not happy about that.

“I think they (Iranians) want dominance in the region,” he told Fox News. “They want dominance inside Islam. And they want to be a global player. And I don't think an Iran with nuclear weapons is anything we want with any of those capabilities.”

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