Tags: coats | iran | obama | nuclear

Dan Coats: Obama Must Confront Iran Soon

By Kathleen Walter   |   Tuesday, 22 Sep 2009 01:35 PM

Former Sen. Daniel Coats, R-Ind., says time is running out for President Obama and U.S. foreign policy in Iran. A member of a special task force making recommendations to the White House on its approach to the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the Senator says the current U.S. approach does not reflect the rapid progress of Iran’s nuclear program.

“The [Obama] administration, we hope is taking a look at our report,” he said.

Coats, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Sen. Charles Robb, D-Va., and retired Gen. Charles Ward authored a Bipartisan Policy Center report regarding U.S. foreign policy in Iran. The report, titled “Meeting the Challenge — Time is Running Out,” concludes that years of diplomacy have not deterred Iran from moving forward with nuclear designs. Released on Tuesday, it stresses the importance of the U.S. taking a new tone with the Islamic Republic before it becomes a nuclear threat.

“We have a lot of evidence that supports this,” said Coats. “The open hand that President Obama offered to Iran was slapped down. Now, we’re talking about ‘let’s get together and talk’. It’s a rope-a-dope strategy. Iran is a nuclear hotbed with growing nuclear weapons capabilities. We want to use every means possible to prevent that from happening.”

The report recommends President Obama take a tougher approach with Iran.

“We think a much more robust strategy is needed — sanctions and embargos and perhaps military leverage — to convince Iran this is not the direction it should take,” Coats said.

“A lot more needs to take place than what’s taking place right now.”

So far, the White House has not reacted to the report.

“We’ve had contacts with the administration to indicate there’s bipartisan support and recommendations for a more robust strategy that we hope bring about a peaceful resolution to the problem.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this week, called for sanctions against Iran. Though the bipartisan report also calls for sanctions against Iran, Sen. Coats is skeptical they’ll even work.

“There isn’t a collective world response to indicate sanctions would be effective. That’s unfortunate . . . We’re hoping President Obama can raise that subject when he meets with the 20 major nations later this month.”

Walter asked the Senator what are his expectations regarding talks with Iran in Turkey next month.

”Very little that these talks are going to be successful. Iran has said it wants to take nuclear talks off the table.”

“The centrifuges keep spinning while talk continues.”

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