Two Democratic senators oppose European trip to Iran

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
October 19, 2012 03:46

“Sending a delegation to Iran for a seven-day visit sends the wrong message," Senators Cardin and Shaheen write.

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US Senator Jeanne Shaheen

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen 370 (R). (photo credit:Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Two US senators have sent a letter to the European Parliament calling for the cancellation of a trip some members plan to make to Iran later in the month.

“Sending a delegation to Iran for a seven-day visit sends the wrong message at this particularly sensitive time,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) wrote in a letter sent Wednesday.

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The two senators cited Iran’s failure to comply with the UN Security Council demands that it suspend its nuclear enrichment program, its increased “interference” inside Syria, its support for “terrorist activities around the globe” and its “abysmal” human rights record.

Characterizing the trip as “ill-advised,” the senators stressed the importance of all diplomacy carried out with Tehran to be under the auspices of the “P5+1” group of world powers – the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – which have been handling ongoing talks.

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The letter also welcomes the recent EU imposition of further sanctions on Iran, and notes that the US would like to work more closely with the parliament to present a “united front” on Iran.

The senators’ letter came on top of appeals by many Jewish groups also urging that the delegation reconsider its trip.

“If this delegation goes to Tehran it would be counterproductive to the efforts being made to isolate Iran,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan Jacobs said in a statement issued earlier this week. “Going over there with the intention of ‘bridge building’ is the exact opposite of what needs to happen.”

Instead, he said, “the EU must continue to press Iran to hold its government accountable for efforts to create nuclear weapons.”


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