Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vice-President Cheney warns Iran of "serious consequences"

In a foreign policy speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Sunday, Vice-President Cheney called the Iranian government “a growing obstacle to peace in the Middle East,” The New York Times reported today. He further remarked that there would be “serious consequences” if Tehran did not stop pursuing its nuclear program.

Cheney’s remarks came after President Bush stated that a nuclear armed Iran could lead to “World War III.” People at the conference believe that the remarks by both government officials represent a significant step towards increasing pressure on Iran, which could lay the groundwork for the threat of military action.

Dennis Ross, who served as a Middle East envoy for President Clinton and the first President Bush and is now a scholar at the Washington Institute, said that Cheney’s statements were “strong words” with “serious implications.”

The UN Security Council has already placed sanctions on Iran for its uranium enrichment program. The United States is now looking to place harsher economic penalties on the country, such as a broader cutoff of bank lending and technology.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, resigned Saturday, on the eve of negotiations with Europe, and has been replaced with more of a hard-liner.

According to the article, the Bush administration seems to be hoping that the Iranian people will rise up against the Iranian government. “The spirit of freedom is stirring in Iran,” Cheney said. “America looks forward to the day when Iranians reclaim their destiny, the day that our two countries, as free and democratic nations, can be the closest of friends.”

For the full story, click here.

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