Lieberman on New Iran Sanctions at AEI
3:48 PM, Apr 27, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Joementum delivered a speech at AEI this afternoon previewing new bipartisan legislation for tighter sanctions on Iran specifically targeting the country's dependence on imports of refined petroleum products. The full text of the speech is after the jump, but the key excerpt:
In thinking about the subject of today's discussion - U.S.-Iranian relations in an era of change - I am reminded of the famous story about former Chinese premier Zhou En Lai, who when asked his opinion of the historical significance of the French revolution, on its 200th anniversary, said: "It's too soon to tell."
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of another revolution-the Iranian Revolution-whose full impact on history is likewise still too soon to tell. What is clear, however, is that we are now approaching a defining moment in that history and in the relationship between the international community, including especially the United States, and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran-a defining moment in which both sides must make big decisions, whose consequences will carry far into the future.
What is also clear is that the challenge of Iran has the potential either to bring the rest of us together-both as a country, and as an international community-or to pull us apart. For too long, unfortunately, the dynamic of our debate about Iran has cut in the wrong direction. Far too often, our domestic discussion of Iran has gotten entangled in partisan politics, with destructive accusations of bad faith and hidden agendas. Internationally, the unpopularity of the Bush administration has provided an easy excuse to any country that wanted to ignore the Iranian threat or avoid making tough decisions about it.
It's time to turn the page. It is time for all of us-Democrats and Republicans here at home, Americans and our allies abroad-to begin to work together to rediscover just how much common ground we share when it comes to Iran.
In this regard, Secretary Clinton said last week that the Obama administration will approach its new engagement with Iran with eyes wide open and under no illusions. That's exactly the right way to do it.