Bill Richardson said Tuesday that the U.S. should "turn down the fiery rhetoric and turn up the smart pressure" when it comes to Iran.
(CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson joined his fellow candidates for the White House in criticizing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has been visiting New York City and the United Nations on Monday and Tuesday. Ahmadinejad “is a demoagogue and a despot,” Richardson said in a statement released by his presidential campaign on Tuesday.
“While I would not have invited him to speak at Columbia, I do support academic freedom on American campuses,” Richardson said also weighing in on Ahmadinejad’s controversial speech at Columbia University on Monday. “We need to start talking with other nations again – both our friends and our enemies,” the statement also said.
Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also criticized legislation currently pending in Congress regarding Iran. “With sanctions for bad behavior and economic benefits and security guarantees as rewards for good behavior, we can strengthen Iranian moderates and pragmatists and integrate Iran into the community of peaceful nations,” explained Richardson.
Richardson’s statement also said that stability in the Middle East would not be achieved if the U.S. maintained its current course in Iraq and kept troops in the war-torn country.
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart