October 1st, 2009
09:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Don't threaten Iran, Carter says

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - The United States and other nations should take a diplomatic approach toward Iran in negotiations over that nation's nuclear program, former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday.

Iran's nuclear chief and representatives from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, as well as Germany, are scheduled to start talks Thursday in Switzerland over a recently revealed nuclear facility in Iran.

Tehran says it is developing its nuclear program for energy purposes, but many nations believe Iran wants to make nuclear weapons and will be able to do so in the near future.

A deliberate approach will work best, Carter said.

"I hope and pray that Iran will be induced to permit international inspectors to come in and observe their entire nuclear program, because what they're doing so far is completely illegal under the nonproliferation treaty," the former president said in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley.

"They have a right to purify uranium and plutonium to use for nuclear power. If Iran is on the borderline, the constant threats that we or the Israelis are going to attack Iran is the best thing to force them to say, 'Let's defend ourselves.' I don't think Iran has made up their mind what to do, and I think the best thing we can do is engage them and stop making these idle threats."

Iran said Tuesday it will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the new facility, but it did not offer a timetable for those visits.

Filed under: Jimmy Carter
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Retire your mouth, Carter. We have the president we elected. Don't need you butting in any more than you already have.

    October 1, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Steve Martin

    The Great Appeaser has spoken. Diplomacy and sanctions have had no impact so far on Iran's quest for nukes. The only thing that "deliberate diplomacy" will acomplish is delay action thus giving Iran even more time to build nukes. Carter is still as naiive as when he was president. Any "inpections" would be just a ruse by Iran who will hide or already has hidden their nuclear assets.

    October 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Martin Sonopel

    Where does Carter go to make all of his pronouncements? Is there a news crew stationed in front of his house? Who in this world wants to hear from this senile old man who totally failed when he was in the white house. His biggest nemesis at that time was Iran, and he still thinks he has the answers???

    October 1, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Gerald

    Dear MR. Carter please continue your advice to the left wing media , conservatives enjoy the laughs. Thank you

    October 1, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Independant Vet

    Go ahead and listen to Jimmy , Better yet < Tell him to shut up , Obama is doing everything wrong , just as Jimmy did. Both keep filling there plates , an never finish what they start. What a Trio , Jimmy , Barrack , Polisi.

    October 1, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Clive

    Iran will not attack Israel – they are fully aware of the consequences.
    Plus we remember what happened with Iraq's WMD 'threat'. This is a diversionary tactic by the US/UK powers to distract people from the bigger issues they so clearly face. Plus how can a country with thousands of nuclear warheads dictate to another country what it can and can't do? President Carter is absolutely right on this one.

    October 1, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Adalbert

    Iran is no threat to the US period. They are not agressors based on their history and they should have the right to develop any technology that they desire. The US over reaction towards Iran is fueled by Israel.

    October 1, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. victim of republican greed

    I am torn between McCain's, "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran." and diplomacy.

    But wait, we never used diplomacy the last 8 years. Maybe this diplomacy thing could work.

    October 1, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. Steve in Denver

    OK, wing nuts. Let's hear the insults to our Nobel prize winning former President. The guy who won that prize for negotiating peace between Egypt and Israel. I'm sure the wingers will post hundreds of comments about how he is too old and foolish to add to the discussion.

    These will be the same people who supported our last 8 years of foreign policy disaster, where we are still in two wars and bin laden is alive and well.

    October 1, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Lil Jimmy

    You handled Iran like a pro when you were president . We should listen to you Carter.

    October 1, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Ron Ft. Myers

    Why doesn't this functional moron just fade away. He stunk as president and it appears his ego will not let himm give up trying to grab the headlines. He's a non entity!

    October 1, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. Dennis

    Jimmy Carter has always been soft on Iran. US hostages spent 444 days there due to his inepness. Pretty much an indicator of the entire Carter Administration.

    October 1, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Pete

    Does 444 days ring a bell with anyone.

    Why would we listen to Jimmy Carter about Iran?!?!

    October 1, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Joseph

    Are people really still taking advice from this idiot. Worst President of the 20th century still backing every nasty dictator and insane religious fanatic on earth.

    October 1, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Wise Latina

    Carter really knows how to handle Iran! They ran circles around him until Ronald Reagan appeared. If Jimmy says "hands off" on Iran, we should say "bombs away"!!

    October 1, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. File under "Sarcasm"

    Jimmy Carter is the same village idiot he was when he was President and his opinion "ain't worth spit." His lack of leadership in the 70's helped get us to the point we're at with Iran today. Diplomacy and appeasement only embolden dictatorial regimes as economic sanctions don't impact the ruling class, only the poor they rule over.

    October 1, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Bob in Pa

    Oh yes, God forbid we threaten Jimmy's little creation over there.

    Jimmy, did you ever think if ift wasn't for your inaction that Iran wouldn't exist as they do today ?

    October 1, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. IndyVoter

    CNN – Your title is misleading. What Carter is saying is let us not be so quick to threaten with MILITARY STRIKES as that will only give Iran a reason to claim 'self defense', harden their facilties and refuse to cooperate with the IAEA. We CAN threaten them with other sticks while pursuing a diplomatic solution, but your title suggests that Carter is saying, "oh please don't threaten the Iranians at all. Lets just talk to them." That is not what he is saying and is certainly isn't what the Obama Administration is positioning itself to do. Once ALL diplomatic options have been exhausted, then we will have the moral ground and a REAL (versus made up WMD) reasons to consider a military option. CNN you should be more specific in the title as many lazy individuals will read the title and not even bother to read the article, taking away that Carter just doesn't want to threaten Iran period, and that it not the case.

    October 1, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. Anonymous

    the guy was a turkey when in office. he's gotten better with age?

    October 1, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. WhendidJimmymatter

    Wasn't it on Jimmy's watch the last time Iran was significant. Now, after they held American's prisoner for over 400 days on his watch, and his diplomacy didn't work then, he again wants the current "Mr. Diplomacy" to take the same stance.

    Can we learn that these maniacal, terrorist will not heed to diplomacy, and that Sanctions and actions will be all that he responds to? Jimmy was wrong about racism, he was wrong during the Iranian Embassy saga of the late 70's and he is wrong now. Shut up and go pick some peanuts.

    October 1, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. TCM

    Yeah, we should listen to one of the biggest liberal pansies of our time; the very guy who made our country a target of muslim extremists....and felt they were just "misunderstood," as they kidnapped, killed, and tortured our citizens....Carter, shut-up and go back to growing peanuts.

    October 1, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. Duane

    yeah, that's what we need....advise from the former Pres that was the WEAKEST in foreign Policy ever. Carter was a joke.

    October 1, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Grahame

    Oh Please
    Jimmy Carter has over a long period of time shown where he stands with regard to enforcing his position on anything. As long as the currant goernment in Iran stays in power they will never listen to diplomatic overtures.
    This was just another failing of the Bush administration. Sadam Hussein hated the Irainians. This was why Bush senior didn't go into Bagdad to remove him since Bush senior as head of the CIA and it was himwho placed Sadam in power in the first place. Bush, junior on the other hand, was too stupid to see this and now the world is reaping the benefit because with Hussein gone the Iranians have the freedom to move forward with their nuclear ambitions and the only way to stop them is with a large bunker blasting bomb that the US has been developing for years. So Jimmy Carter as usual has it all backwards. It would be better for the world if he just shut up for once.

    October 1, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. victim of republican greed

    I should remind the Carter bashers that President Carter kept us safe for his entire term as president, but under Bush, we were attacked in the first 9 months of his presidency.

    October 1, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. donttreadonme

    Peaceful resolution should be our first option but if it was up to people like Jimmy Carter the 1979 hostages would still be held captive. Too bad we have his twin Obama as President. Obama is as shortsighted and weak as Carter.

    Really Iran better worry about not provoking us or Israel. Time for the UN to put up or shut up. We should not allow any Nation to acquire Nuclear weapons as this could lead to the end of mankind!
    We need to act now to protect Israel and our Allies from this threat!

    October 1, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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