Stabilizing Iran And Protecting The United States
"Iran represents a great challenge for the United States. We can best prevent Iran from threatening our interests through a 'smart power' strategy that will combine carrots and sticks, direct engagement, and international pressure to convince moderate Iranians that they cannot and must not pursue nuclear weapons." - John Edwards
John Edwards believes it is of the utmost importance that we prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a politically unstable leader and an open supporter of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran's possession of nuclear weapons could also set off a regional nuclear arms race in an unstable region in the world, which would directly threaten US interests. As president, Edwards would take aggressive steps to resolve the situation and to protect the United States and our allies.
Uniting the International Community
We must do everything in our power to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions through diplomatic measures that will, over time, force Iran to finally understand the world community will not allow it to possess nuclear weapons. Every major U.S. ally agrees a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. This is a positive sign, and we should continue to work with them to isolate Iran.
Directly Engaging Iran
We need to engage Iran directly. As president, Edwards will negotiate with Iranian leaders who have met a number of criteria, such as recognition of the international rule of law, recognition of the rights of Jews and the state of Israel, and a commitment to the promise of diplomacy.
Thousands of young and moderate Iranians are natural friends of America and the West and want to see Iran succeed economically. Edwards will take steps to expose Iran to democratic culture and ideas and will use diplomacy to separate extremists from leaders more inclined to stabilize Iran's relations with the world.
Leverage through Increased Pressure
Stabilizing Iran will require the use of both "carrots" and "sticks"pressure and incentives. While the sanctions already in place provide some leverage over Iran, they have had limited success. As president, Edwards will pursue a new course of targeted sanctions both for American companies and for foreign companies.
Encouragement through Incentives
The United States has more leverage than many think over Iran through incentives that could encourage Iran's leadership to abandon extremism and comply with international rules. As president, Edwards will draw Iran into compliance through incentives including increased refinery capacity, modification of the embargo, membership in multilateral organizations, and the creation of a fuel bank.
Direct Negotiations with China and Russia
China and Russia both recently voted with the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran. As president, Edwards will reach out to China and Russia to work on reaching their economic objectives through alternatives that do not assist Iran's military nuclear capability.