Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, that the revelation late last week by the United States of a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear facility set the stage for tough and possibly productive discussions between the U.S., Iran, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China set to begin October 1.
“I think the P-5-plus-1 meeting that is set up this week is the right venue,” the Tennessee Republican told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “I think the table couldn't be set better for that meeting. . . . I think we should be very tough on them.
“The fact is, the world community is now, I think, more united than ever to confront Iran. And this is information we've had for some time. I think making it public this week and Iran actually coming forward and saying that it was true certainly turns the table. And I think we have a tremendous opportunity for the first time in a long time for a breakthrough.”
Corker was agreeing with Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who also said Sunday the United States should take a tough approach with Iran.
On the eve of talks, Bayh advocated for “more sticks, frankly, at this moment than carrots” in dealing with Iran.
“We've tried a variety of inducements to the Iranians over the years,” Bayh told King, “Frankly, none of that has worked. What they respect more than anything is strength. They're contemptuous of weakness . . . So I think it needs to be mainly stiff economic and financial sanctions, with the possibility of other options lurking in the background if they don't change their behavior. That gives us the best chance of getting them to give up their [nuclear] program.”
Bayh also said that for sanctions to be effective, the cooperation and the participations of Russian and China was necessary. China, in particular, could play an important role, Bayh said, because it supplies some of the refined gasoline Iran needs. And the Indiana Democrat suggested that placing an embargo on Iranian oil exports might be an effective means to imposing economic sanctions on the country for its illicit nuclear program.
Both lawmakers also said military options should remain on the table but Corker noted that moving militarily to take out Iran’s nuclear capability could quickly unify a country that has become divided after this summer’s protests over Iran’s elections.