Cruz to Obama: Don't meet with Rouhani's until Iran releases 'prisoners of conscience'
September 28th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
11 months ago

Cruz to Obama: Don't meet with Rouhani's until Iran releases 'prisoners of conscience'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It didn't take long.

Just a day after President Barack Obama answered a phone call from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani - the first contact a U.S. president has had with an Iranian leader since Jimmy Carter spoke by phone with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979 - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says Iran needs to meet certain preconditions, or the leader of the free world should send Rouhani's next call to voice-mail.


Cruz announced in a statement Saturday morning that he has filed a resolution in the Senate recommending Iran meet two preconditions, recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and releasing, without conditions, all U.S. nationals being "unjustly" held in the nation's prisons "before any future meeting between President Obama and President Rouhani."

"Congress needs to send a strong signal that direct communication with the leader of the free world is a privilege," Cruz said in a statement, "particularly for a regime that has been as hostile as Iran has been towards America for more than three decades."

In the resolution, Cruz both decried Iran as a "committed state-sponsor of terrorist groups" and dismissed the country's claims it is only seeking nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The Texas Republican said Rouhani and his government have yet to take "any practical steps" towards halting its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Discussing the phone call in a statement from the White House briefing room on Friday, Obama promised that he will continue to consult the United State's "friends and allies in the region, including Israel," acknowledging that ongoing talks with the often-rogue nation would inflame suspicions among Israeli leaders.

Obama also discussed the imprisonment of American pastor Saeed Abedini during the phone call with Rouhani. The Idaho pastor, who converted from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago, has been imprisoned in Tehran's Evin prison over a year. Abedini is serving an eight-year sentence for "undermining the Iranian government.

Cruz praised the president for raising Abedini's imprisonment with the Rouhani before imploring Obama to keep up a diplomatic blitzkrieg to force "real action on this issue."

Ahead of Rouhani's visit to the United Nations this past week, Iranian authorities reportedly pardoned 80 prisoners, according to Iranian media. This comes after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he would be willing to lend the country's president greater "flexibility" on the foreign relations front, signaling a potential - if subtle - shift in the nation's fraught dealings with the United States and the West.


Filed under: Foreign Policy • Iran • President Obama • Ted Cruz
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    The arrogance of Senator Cruz is BREATHTAKING! This man is a demagogue to the nth degree.

    September 28, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. CAWinMD

    Please Ted - let the adults handle this one. You're in WAY over your head.

    September 28, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    And when this Canuck is the President, he can....sorry I couldn't finish the statement, as I am giggling too much!

    September 28, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    This idiot needs to see psychiatric help.

    September 28, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Bill

    While the release of "prisoners of conscience" is certainly an goal to be addressed and achieved, you must TALK with the Iranians in order to make such a demand and to work out any details. You will never solve differences among nations unless you TALK to them. Playing out your wishes in the media is not the way to success.

    September 28, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. 1twinsfan

    Thas is what my husband says to me when I talk nonsense - callate!

    September 28, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Look Cruz. I know you THINK you're a big deal but you're not. Barack Hussein Obama is the President of the United States. He does not need advice from a freshman like you. You and your ilk think you are superior to many people but you're not. Especially not our intelligent, thoughtful highly respected President. Any moves made are HIS to make.

    September 28, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    More advice from a party who wants nothing more than the POTUS to fail and the country with him simply because they hate him and won't accept THE LAW as lawful. Really? To take any advice from these home grown terrorists would be really ignorant on the part of the president. Please find your way home Canadian Cruz and take your entire party with you.

    September 28, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    I probably like Canadian born Cubans as much as anyone, but this crazy loon is nuts.

    September 28, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Michael Benjamin

    Cruz is like trash, he's all over the place. I would suggest Cruz spend a little time studying the history of Iran in the mid-20th century. The UK and the US meddled in Iran's internal affairs over its vast oil supplies, the brutal regime backed by the US which created the conditions leading to the Iranian Revolution and the continued strain with most of the western world.

    September 28, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Jack Cardwell

    Will someone please put a plug in Cruz's mouth.

    September 28, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    GOP don't like peace they actually cannot thrive in peace. They are desperately looking for where to find the next war. Very sad.

    September 28, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Looks like all of the GOP's ideas about anything involve blackmail and extortion. Typical of the thugs they are – and totally unworthy of leading our great nation.

    September 28, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Ted should ask Obama to read "Green Eggs and Ham" during any meeting as it sure got the attention of the tea bagging terrorists.

    September 28, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Reince Priebus: "we've got a hispanic problem.
    RNC: "we'll put Rafael Cruz on the ticket.

    John Boehner: "I've got a caucus problem."
    GOP Caucus: "we'll let Cruz handle it."

    Media: "our ratings are down. No one listens to us anymore."
    Koch brothers: "we'll make Cruz the talk of the town."

    American People: "we are frustrated with our Congress."
    Republicans: "Cruz says shut 'er down."

    The World: "LMAO at what has become of the greatest country in the world."
    Cruz: "me too."

    September 28, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. NameT-hill

    I don't know why the right wing thinks POTUS has to do what they say or we're doomed. Get a clue! The American people have spoke we trust him not y'all

    September 28, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Thanks for the input Ted. Now go back to your mirror.

    September 28, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Did Cruz call Obama to suggest this, or did Cruz call a press conference? Cruz is still nuts.

    September 28, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Mike Texoma

    Ted Cruz is an idiot. Why would president Obama be the least bit interested in anything e has to say?

    September 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Jana Jones

    What a great leader Cruz is!

    September 28, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. annebeth66

    It is time for Cruz to shut up, go home and re-read 'Green Eggs & Ham.' The Canadian has nothing constructive to offer, while the president is trying to improve the relationship between the US and Iran. The sheer fact that there is a phone call from the respective presidents in over 30 years is a step in the right direction.

    September 28, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Oh, Cruz , we didn't know you were the president?????shut up and take your GOP teaparty hicks back to Canada but I doubt if they would take the losers, take the teaparty idiots Rubio and lee and meadows the hick from North Carolina with you!!!!!

    September 28, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Rapheal Cruz,being a two bit tea potty senator has no say in this matter.

    September 28, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    You know? Just looking at a picture of this guy makes my skin crawl and my stomach hurt. He has the most
    destructive mouth I have ever heard. Arrogance run amok.

    September 28, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    Hey crazy Canadian Rafael Cruz, we heard enough from you and we don't like you any more than before. In fact except for your teatard brainless you have given Democrats and Independents a good look at what a Canadian terrorist looks like and it's somebody who looks like a rat with horns,
    You are NOT even an American. How dare you try to run our country. Go back to Canada or Cuba.

    September 28, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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