Americans for Peace Now is advocating U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies are “repugnant” and “abhorrent,” Debra DeLee, the group’s president and CEO, wrote in an article shared with JTA, but engaging in real diplomacy with Iran is vital to U.S. national interests, she said.
“Scorn cannot replace policy. The U.S. does not have to like Ahmadinejad to engage in real diplomacy with his country, and engaging Iran in order to safeguard vital U.S. national security interests is not appeasement. Rather, it is the kind of sensible and responsible foreign policy that is long overdue,” she wrote.
Tough talk from Jewish and American policy makers hasn’t succeeded in eliminating the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, DeLee pointed out.
“Addressing the challenge of Iran requires a smart strategy – combining carrots and sticks, diplomacy and sanctions – and strong U.S. participation and leadership,” DeLee wrote. “Sanctions are indeed a potentially powerful tool for putting pressure on Iran, but they simply will not suffice as a replacement for diplomacy in resolving our differences.”
DeLee’s comments come on the eve of a major rally, scheduled for Monday across from the United Nations and co-sponsored by a number of major Jewish groups, to protest the visit of the Iranian president to the world body. DeLee said that the rhetoric coming from the Jewish community and Washington lawmakers may actually be making the situation worse.