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

    @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!
    =======

    Please ,
    you said the same thing about GW Bush in 2000 , and Rick Perry 2012.

    September 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Anonymous

    "Our founding fathers would be proud!"

    Our founding father would be proud? Ummm. No. They would be devastated to learn that one man is doing his best to undermine everything they stood and fought for. Cruz does not represent democracy. Cruz represents unadulterated greed in the most vilest form of power and propaganda.

    September 29, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Amazing

    Cruz, how about you releasing the American s you are holding hostage with your childish political games?

    September 29, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. roro

    I still want to know who died and left this arrogant bloviator in charge? What an egotistical narcissist!

    September 29, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. rs

    Is Cruz aware that since 1979, the State Department has said it is unsafe and unwise for Americans to travel to Iran? That there is no representative of the U.S. Government in Iran for Americans to appeal to? That means when these so-called "prisoners of conscience" make a really bad decision, get arrested and thrown in jail, there is no recourse legally for them to follow.
    Naturally, as negotiating a Nuclear disarmament treaty would benefit millions across the Middle East, Cruz thinks we should hold out for one fool stuck his nose where it didn't belong, who went to one of two or three nations in the world where he could be jailed for almost no reason, and fix his mess first.

    More insanity from the Right!

    September 29, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. AshPalloorane

    I don't understand why Rouhani has to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state if he wants to talk to the President of the United States (not to the president of Israel!). I want to know Mr. Cruz: did you already sell the US to Israel?.

    September 29, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. vet in tx

    Cruz could not make his 2016 aspirations any more apparent, and will fail miserably. All he will say is what I did during this, what I stood for then, how I did this for this long, and how I voted. He is only trying to make himself better vs. all of the other candidates for his primary. They don't care what the rest of the nations thinks or feels, only their party for their re-election and their future presidency candidacy. Think about it.......Ryan wrote a budget, Bachmann spoke to the numerous camera's with her incorrect charts, Perry wanted to secede, Cain, had 9-9-nesia, etc. etc.

    September 29, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. vet in tx

    and don't forget the apologetic tours to Israel, that is an immediate pre-requisite to run for president.

    September 29, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. rs

    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!
    __________________
    Sorry-
    From what I see, Mr. Cruz is the reincarnation of Sen. Joe McCarthy- another Republican prone to grandiose beliefs and actions- not to mention insanity.

    September 29, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. WTCseven

    If Rouhani meets up with Freemason in chief Obama ... i will personnally hang Rouhani for high treason, even though am not iranian

    September 29, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. S. B. Stein

    It would be nice to have those that the Iranians have imprisoned freed, but it can't be the only thing on the agenda. It should be included on the agenda along with the need to have the Iranian nuclear programs (civilian and military weapons).

    September 29, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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