June 21st, 2009
11:04 AM ET
10 years ago

Lugar: U.S. should talk with Iran

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/21/art.lugarsotu0621.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Richard Lugar said Sunday that the Obama administration should sit down with Iran in hopes of eliminating Iran's nuclear program."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After a week of political protests by Iranians calling into question the legitimacy of the country's leadership, a leading U.S. Republican said Sunday that the United States should still engage in diplomatic dialogue with the Middle Eastern nation.

"We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran," Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

But Lugar, ranking Republican on the foreign relations committee, also said he believes Iranian interest in high-level talks with the U.S. is "totally improbable."

"The reason is: This regime now is under fire," Lugar told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "This is not a stable regime in which two people suddenly sit down with the United States. They may not be able to impose their will."

Lugar also said the unrest may open a door for the United States.

"We really have to get into the nuclear weapons. We have to get into terrorism of Iran in other areas of the Middle East. Now we have new opportunity in which we might very well say, 'We want communication with Iran. We want openness of the press. We don't want to have to use Twitter. We want the press on the ground.'"

"In order to have any kind of a relationship, we need to be able to talk to people, hear from people, argue with people," Lugar added.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Filed under: Iran • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Change in America

    We the American people need to stay out of Iran business It sad how they doing the citizens who believe in freedom...President Obama have to much on his plate in the USA...People in US is starving and looking for jobs let worry about putting our country back on track.

    June 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. ck

    I see CNN is already censoring, must be coming down from Obama.

    That is where we are heading.


    June 21, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |

    The USA needs to LEARN that we are not the voice they want to hear. Alreaqdy the powers in charge are saying that the revolt is being driven by the USA this will only damage the image of the American People in the area. Obama must make it CLEAR that we do not condone revolts We only encourage peaceful democratic governemgts actions.

    June 21, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Dawn in Pa

    I totally agree with you Change in America... We worry about everyone else but the US citizens, we are getting accused tight now, what Obama is doing is the right tone. It does not show signs of being weak it shows signs of not starting a global conflict. We have to worry more about North Korea and that Missile that is aimed at Hawaii, do we know if it has a Nuke war head? No we do not..

    I wish the People of Iran who is hungering for freedom, stay strong, and remember that Freedom comes with a high price and it is worth the struggle.

    June 21, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. did

    Just stay our of Iran....

    June 21, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Leah

    Why no blog on the statements of Kouross Esmaeli who spent four years working on a documentary about the bloodthirsty Basji.

    When the CNN interviewer tried to get him to dis the President's responses he replied that the Iranian people knew who was supporting them and who is just out to benefit themselves. Of course, he was not allowed to finish his statement as CNN rushed to commercials.

    His honest summation of the Republicans' phoney attempts to undermine the President just didn't fit in with CNN's desire to create a controversy by ignoring every expert they have had on who have clearly stated that the president's comments and tone are exactly right and that the Iranian people know who is really on their side.

    The fact that CNN and the Republicans are both trying to profit from the tragedy in Iran is SICKENING and that CNN is selectively deciding whose comments they will highlight and whose they won't is censorship and manipulation by the media.

    June 21, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    HERE we go
    Donna Brazile is saying that the president is doing the right thing
    but the republicans with Bill the dildo Bennett hasn't got a clue
    hey Bill we didn't vote any of your favorites into office
    go back and hide under the same rock that Rush is under see if Dicky Chenney will let you set on his lap

    June 21, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Dawn in Pa

    ck June 21st, 2009 10:58 am ET

    I see CNN is already censoring, must be coming down from Obama.

    That is where we are heading.


    you wake up ck, it is called the Patriot Act, sweetie. We had censorship under Bush Administration, Were you every flagged going on a internet sight, Look Up Patriot Act and see why it is In constitutional. My daughter and I did and we thought out computor crashed. So before you blame everything on Obama, look to your hero Bush and Cheney and thank the Patriot Act...

    CNN once again this rhetoric is getting a bit much... and please post this...

    June 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Valerie Iravani

    I applaud the President's approach to commentary on Iran. Stay out of it for now – WE MUST be able to allow their internal processes to either succeed or fail – and wait like a hawk for the right moment to offer assistance.

    The young people want the world to know what's going on – but do not yet want us to send in the calvary. They are a strong, smart people – let them determine the course of action. They will ask for specific help when they need it!

    Obama, please keep on doing what you are doing in relationship to Iran. Wait and see is appropriate at this time – we saw how hard line rhetoric affected our relationship 30 years ago! Don't go there this time.

    June 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. Nero

    From a Republican, this is news and a change of course indeed. It's long overdue but Rome was not built in one day or year.

    Not talking to our enemy will not allow us reason and it takes two to tango.

    Wish all Iranians peace and tollerance and hope they find peaceful means to solve their problems.
    It is wish that the US stay out of this mess but send a strong signal that human rights must be addressed and preserve. Killing each other is not the answer and will not solve anything.

    June 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. 911willie

    Down with "Shah" Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud "Robert Mugabe" Ahmadinejad

    June 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Concerned citizen

    This guy is another idiot from the republican mess! In one breath he says Obama should talk to Iran and in the next breath he says he believes it is highly unprobable???????DAH!
    First of all Obama said during his campaign that he would sit down and talk with Iran! So where was this bimbo then when the GOP was critisizing him for that?Idiots!They don't know if they are coming or going?
    Wasted air time on national tv!

    June 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Mike O'Brien

    Please don't let a Republican talk to Iran or we will be in a 'war' within a week. Mike In Montana

    June 21, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Butch Dillon

    The republicans need to focus on issues closer to home. They've ruined domestic policy and turned life for most Americans into a less than acceptable "dream". They should be correcting their errors and not looking for new ones to make. President Obama knows what he's doing. We cannot be seen as meddlers in Iranian affairs. If he took the republican approach it would spell disaster for our international relationship for generations. Please republicans, go back to sleep – it's what you do best.

    June 21, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. suzi

    Obama has already stated his willingness to talk to Iran. Lugar is a day late & a dollar short w/ his big idea.
    Where was he when bush was screaming " axis of evil, axix of evil"?. Nary a peep. Now they want to be reasonable
    And Obama has walked a fine line as far as the protests . they've(protestors) stated they want him to stay away from outright support as that will only make it worse for them.. It appears he's abiding by their wishes.
    You want real coverage go to twitter, it's up to the minute. But find trusted sources as there are trolls out insome numbers.

    June 21, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |

    One BIG POINT everyone is missing the fact that the other canidate is not a REAL USA LOVER. He is just as hard line. To support one over the other is not going to improve our relationship or our abiloity to work out any agreements.

    Obama can only point out that we support freedoms of speach and seek to deal with democratic governments. We can't force anyone to change their way of living (look how it would in Iraq). We must lead by example ans show the world we pratice what we preach.

    June 21, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Kentucky Muslim

    Senator Lugar knows what he's talking about and I trust him to take a measured response. He's what a Republican used to be, and no longer typical in any sense.

    June 21, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Sick of republican hypocrisy

    Y'know, for months the repubs have been all over Obama for wanting to talk to Iran, for giving his first interview, obviously to speak directly to the Islamic nations' people, for giving speeches indicating support of the general muslim population, speaking directly to the youth and showing them respect and NOW, NOW they are raging that Obama isn't talking ENOUGH to the people of Iran. How much more obvious is it that this is the party of NO, of "Whatever you do it isn't right" of "let's repeat every mistake we've made for fifty years". Un-freaking-believable. If they think for one moment that all of Obama's comments over the last six months haven't had a part in this they are blind. But what they miss is it is not just the people in Iran standing up, but also a split in the leadership, among the clerics. THIS is what is different and what has been a subtle, but non-interfering touch initiating change on the world change. It's no time to be a bull in a china shop. Idiots. I used to have some respect for some republicans. No more.

    June 21, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Mike Brock

    I cannot understand the position of the Republicans on Iran. These people who have completely lost the moral high ground for the US in the Bush presidency, are now preaching that Obama should act in the same old non-effective way that they did.

    Can't they get it right, their way does not work!

    The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    The Republicans need to sit back, cool their jets and actually try diplomacy and moral high ground, they will find the view different, calmer, safer, more effective, more honorable and more intelligent.

    Loyal opposition does not mean opposing or second guessing everything. It mean an intelligent discussion of differences, actually agreeing on those things that are best for the country, and in a few carefully thought out instances, oppose, but make a real point, just saying no is not acceptable to the American people.

    June 21, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. B.H.

    Let the Iranian people settle the current madness first before we stick our arrogant nose into it again. We are not trusted in Iran and for good reason if you look at history.

    June 21, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Buddy Gilmour

    Every time a Republican opens his mouth I'm struck by the very simplistic nature of their "solutions". Obama is so far ahead of everyone else. He got elected by virtue of his grasp of domestic politics, and its clear he's made a quick study of international affairs. The GOP has become the party of stupid. Unfortunately that is a brand that has mass appeal.

    June 21, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. Reinstate Darwinism

    Most of the US doesn't remember or is too lazy to open a history book or... god forbid... research on the "internet" what the US did... that's right WE did! To not only Iran but alot of the other countries/ethnicitys in the middle east.

    While I don't care for a lot of what President Obama has done, I do believe he is taking the right approach to Islamic Dominated Countries.

    30, 40 and 50 yrs ago the US did some very bad things to them and they have every right not to forget. We have to wait for them to come to us. If we push ourselves onto them they will reject us.

    Unless you want to take the Iraq apporach on every middle eastern country. Which, we can't afford to do.

    June 21, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Jon

    This whole thing in Iran is happening, not because of any Obama policy, but because of the economic isolation that Bush pushed for. Sorry to break it to the Obama lovers and Bush haters, but if this regime falls it will be because of the Bush policies. The irony is if Iran turns into a democracy then two of the three axis of evil will be gone. It must really upset all you far left liberals to see Bushes policies cause this. I was never a big Bush fan but I think history will vindicate him.

    June 21, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. matt

    So what is our messiah president Obama going to do when the Iranian President decides to unleash Hezbollah on Israel to try and turn the worlds attention away from the crises going on in Iran now

    June 21, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Peter

    A Republican agreeing with Obama? He'll be gone soon enough...

    June 21, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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