Cruz to Obama: Don't meet with Rouhani's until Iran releases 'prisoners of conscience'
September 28th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
5 years 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. Joseph Abrahams

    Foster parents do a great in taking children into their homes that have been negleted or abused in many diffrent ways.Foster Parents provide the love and nurturing that these unfortunate children did not get. Many Foster Parents do not have any health insurance and are concerned. Will this Obama Health Care help them,will they be recognized and be take care helped.

    September 28, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Alan

    Nathan Wimberly...typical mentally challenged Democrat...

    September 28, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Alan

    Obama the Moslem gives our enemies our money, our weapons, and aids and abets them...but lookeee here, all of the mentally challenged Democrats still love and worship their Fuhrer. If anyone of them had the brains of their grandparents – that is, if their grandparents weren't Commies or Nazis, they'd puke out this Kenyan POS and stop their endless, juvenile vomiting.

    But hey, they never grew up...just like their little Kenyan Trayvon wannabe infant.

    September 28, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. 2020

    What a stupid Cruz really is !!!

    September 28, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Tony in Maine

    Just when you think he couldn't say anything stupider, he does. And this is the fool the pundits love to call brilliant. YIKES!

    September 28, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Jana Jones

    You Cruz bashers don't get it.... He didn't go to Washington to "play" politics or join the "good ole boys" "career" politician club!!!!! HE is a real peoples politician, speaking on the behalf of the people. The old stogy politicians feel jilted that he has chosen to represent those that sent him there rather than join in with them and their "status quo"...they and y'all can just get over it! Our founding fathers would be proud!

    September 28, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    in other words, "Until you check with me first."

    September 28, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. marilyn

    I wonder if these republican idiots would be telling the president what to do if he was 100% white? my guess is no, but the truth is Obama is much more educated and smarter than this awhole and should just shut the hell up. If they shut down the government we should never take another republican seriously.

    September 28, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Searcher

    Doesn't CRUZ know that he is a one trick pony? Branching out into foreign affairs? Does he think his CANADIAN birth gives him that right?

    September 28, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. democract

    Attention seeker,sad !

    September 28, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. wendel

    another republican idiot heard from. He needs to go back to Canada

    September 28, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. democract

    Attention cruz the leading joker in the republician party,but with many followers.

    September 28, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. g

    put him on cruz control and point him toward the moon

    September 28, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Dallas

    Ted, you don 't have a clue when it comes to foreign affairs, please sit down and be quiet. You've had your 15 minutes this week.

    September 28, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. Ron L

    What a GREAT BLOW HARD Senator Cruz is. Let him enjoy his 15 minutes as the focal point, because before it is over he is going to go down in flames

    September 28, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Cruz is the same kind of arrogant interfering antagonist moron who has kept Cuban foreign policy the same for 64 years .

    The little big man who reads Green Eggs and Ham on the floor of the US Senate should stay out of foreign policy .

    Sometimes Ted Cruz , looks and act's so much like "Joe" McCarthy , you have to wonder if he was not adopted .

    September 28, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. norma jean

    This man has done more damage to the Republican party in just a few months than any one else has in years......Wake up folks and get this guy ""OUTA HERE""!!

    September 28, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. Obamafixesthings

    What do we have to do to get rid of this insanity? Cruz, the tea party, the house republicans they are all completely nuts. We really need to add the mental health care portion back to the ACA. They need it now, I'll need it if anyone listens to them.

    September 28, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. Winston Smith

    It's creeps like this that make the entire country look backward as hell, and dumb as stumps.

    September 28, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  20. Ann-Marie

    Hey Sarah Pallin – sorry Ted Cruz – You cannot walk in the bed slippers of President Obama let alone his shoes. You do not have a snow balls chance in hell of ever becoming the POTUS so stop flattering yourself and take a hike because any day now your 15 minutes will be up – honestly what an idiot !!

    September 28, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @Darla (Edmonton, Canada): "The arrogance of Senator Cruz is BREATHTAKING! This man is a demagogue to the nth degree."

    Even more amazing is how he thinks he could ever be president. Not just because he's unqualified, but because he's a naturalized citizen – making him ineligible. (At least I think he's naturalized; I haven't followed up on whether he's finally done the paperwork.)

    September 28, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    You know, I bet even our worst enemies express sympathy to President Obama that he has to put up with jerks like Cruz.

    September 28, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  23. jean2

    Why is Ted Cruz in control of the senate, the house and the president??????????

    September 29, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  24. crw3

    Why does anyone care what Ted Cruz thinks? I don't get it.

    September 29, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  25. What's in that tea anyway?

    I'm sick of this guy already and he wants to be President

    September 29, 2013 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
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