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. Kate in SW Fla

    Dick Lugar is one of the finest Senators in the history of the body. Unlike McCain, who simply used it as a campaign slogan, Lugar actually DOES put Country first. And, he is an expert on Foreign Affairs. I am a lifelong Democrat (I think it is in my DNA 🙂 But, I always listen to what Senator Lugar has to say. I may not always agree, but I would never call him an idiot, as that is simply not true. I wish there were a lot more Lugars and a lot fewer Inhofes and Kyls.

    June 21, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Heading for the hills.

    Take a good look at this flunky.He should be in a retirement home with the rest of the republican party faithful and get some new blood in there.

    June 21, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Clark

    Talk with whom? In case the good senator hasn't noticed, the results of the election are in dispute and there is possible revolution afoot in Iran. This needs to play out for the Iranian people without the interference of the US and UK (or any other country), who are already on record for interfering in Iranian elections in the past, and overthrowing the elected government of Iran in 1953 and installing the pro-Western Shah.

    Notice the deafening silence from their neighbors, especially the brutal dictatorships of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It will be interesting to see what sort of country Iran becomes. One thing is for sure, the cat is now out of the bag...and nothing can put it back in again.

    June 21, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Kenneth Ransome

    Republicans need to devise solutions instead of spewting rhetoric at the President of the United States. We educated Americans do not wish to be hated and deemed hypocritical anymore. The central point of disgust with the US stems from America's reaction to the Iranian democratic elections in 1953 when America was displeased with the results and financed a coup to remove a democratically elected leader to install the Shah (A dictator) into power. President Obama's response to the fallout in Iran is apporpriate and gives the Iranian hardliners no substantial fodder to accuse the US of interference.
    The people of Iran have taken the most appropriate approach and they will prevail without outside inteference. The Iranians will prevail as African americans did through Dr. Martin Luther King, the indians through Gandhi, and the south Africans through Nelson Mandela. Thank god the repubkicans are not in power or else we would be involved in another major foriegn policy mistake.

    June 21, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Len

    President Obama has it totally correct. In fact, many people of Iran do not want us to intervene. They have indicated that if we do, the regime will only blame the US for the unrest in their country.

    I hope we have learned that we cannot call countries the "axis of evil" and expect them to love America. And where were the Republicans when Bush called (Iran, North Korea) the "axis of evil". I did not hear them condemning those comments. How about McCain, "bomb, bomb, Iran". Now he says President Obama should be more forceful about civil rights of Iran. You cannot have it both ways Senator!

    June 21, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. yea right Jon

    You voted for Bush twice Jon and then McInsane,who are you trying to kid?

    June 21, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. DCM

    As a Republican, I don't like Lugar's comments on the surface. I'm hopeful that they're something said to rile the Iranian protesters up against the current regime.

    June 21, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.


    A republican that actually does not want to shoot first and ask questions later?

    Lush will not be pleased.

    June 21, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Longhorn#1

    You Republicans make me sick. Eight years you had to accomplish all this crap. And now you offer advice to the President. FORGET IT.

    June 21, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. DJJ

    Be careful what you wish for people. Do not confuse the "Democracy" we have here in the US with the style of "Democracy" that is set up in Iran. Two entirely different animals.
    As long as the government of Iran is run, controlled and functions under the sole authority of the ruling mullahs, not much will change towards the democracy so many Americans seem to think exists there.
    The Iranians, the PEOPLE of Iran, are the eventual sole arbiters of what type of government they want, not any one person here in the US, left, right, Republican, Democrat, no one.
    If they decide to retain their republic as one that is controlled by religion, that is their decision. If they decide, for example, towards a balance or compromise that retains a religious identity within their government yet offers some changes like the PEOPLE deciding their own candidates, not those chosen by the Guardian Council ( a possible step towards real representation in a "democracy") that is their decision, no matter who the unrest all shakes out in the days ahead.
    If they decide to remove such strict religious controls over their government , again, that is going to be their choice.
    We can "protest" the carnage, so can the rest of the world, of course, but the ultimate decision of what kind of government the Iranian people want lies with them.
    I remind everyone, as long as the mullahs are in control, this will always be a repressive government in many ways.

    June 21, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Jean

    Why does anyone care what the Republicans think. They messed everything up and chanted their stale slogan "you're either with us or against us" and now they are trying to act like they have a clue about foreign policy? They had Iran boxed in with their axis of evil garbage and now they are trying to act pro-Iran? What a joke. I think it was because Obama got elected and the U.S. people voted out the old stale divisive ways of the Republican party that the Iranian people are having the courage to do the same. If the Republicans were smart they'd go into hiding for a few years because every time they open their mouth they look like ridiculous hypocrites.

    June 21, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Selwin O'Neal

    Are the Republicans now calling for a talk with no "pre-conditions" with Iran? Boy, they can't seem to get it right.

    June 21, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. I hand out crying towels for republicans daily

    The Iran people are finding it hard to get rid of their republican party too.The zealots here almost destroyed our country but we canned their blanks.

    June 21, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. marcus

    weren't the republicans the ones yelling and screaming about the democrats who were against the iraq war.. those same republicans saying that we needed to send a unified message... hmmm, i guess that unified message thing doesn't apply when there's a democratic president... well, to the republican party i say, you people don't have a clue about international diplomacy... you're the party who sold weapons to iran so you could fund dictatorships in central america that killed nuns... you people just need to shut up already...

    June 21, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. haren

    he is the only sensible senator from republican side.
    if we wanted to keep oil price down than, stay away from meddling in middle east.

    June 21, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. ced

    what a bunch of losers and two faced haters these repugs are. during the campaign, when then senator obama said that he is willing to sit down and speak with iran, the repugs shouted, "that's not sound foreign policy'. now all of a sudden, they say to now president obama, that is a good idea to hold talks with iran. they speak first and think second if they even think at all. repugs will do anything to oppose president obama, even if he's right just for the sake of wanting to see him fail. can't speak for the rest of you voters, but it's been long overdue to vote out repugs in every district.

    June 21, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Donkey Party

    Matt @ 11:30am posted this:

    "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"

    Wow, where to begin on this one...
    First, it's only the right-wingers who use the term "Messiah" toward President Obama, due to their jealousy and inability to find a single Neo-con candidate that has the support Obama has. Second, Hezbollah isn't an army, or governmental body, they're a faction who answers to the Supreme Leadership, not the Iranian President. And third, and most importantly, Israel by far has the most potent ground forces and extremely potent air forces in the region. Their pilots in particular are of exceptional talent, rivaling our own pilots in tactical knowledge and proven battle skills. In a hypothetical situation, if you asked any American fighter pilot which enemy they would least like to encounter in combat, I would safely guess about 90% of them would say the Israelies. No offense to their British, French, or German counterparts, it's just the Israelies are that good.

    So, for you to suggest that Israel, a nuclear-armed Israel by the way, is helpless against any Middle-eastern aggression just goes to show your own ignorance on the subject. Sadly, too many other less-informed folks like you also buy into the same drivel, spoon fed to you from the fear-mongering Limbaughs, Palins, Gingrichs, and McCains on the right.

    June 21, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. matt

    Donkey Party you are the biggest morone in the world seriously hezbollah is funded and armed by Iran and a Hezbollah rocket attack on Israel and a Israeli retaliation would throw the mideast into more chaos so please before you make anymore stupid remarks get your fact straight and your head out of your butt

    June 21, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Momma Mia

    Hey Matt, is "morone" an Italian moron? Speaking of which ....!

    June 21, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. jeff

    to donkey party Hezbollah is funded and Trained and armed by Iran stupid and there were trained Iranians helping Hezbollah in the 2006 war so again I know you think so highly of Obama but it goes to show you lack in intelligence to

    June 21, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Emma

    Bill Bennett needs to be a conservative analyst to keep his well-paid appearances on CNN. He is brainwashed much like Bush, Gingrich, McCain, so he can create the controversy that news producers use to get viewers.

    June 21, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Donkey Party

    Matt –

    How old are you? My guess is probably 17 or so. I think Noggin or Nickleodeon might have a site that's a little more your speed for you to go and play on. Hezbollah is based in Lebanon and it's primary funding is from Iran, with a few bones thrown from Syria as well. I did say "Supreme Leadership", didn't I? Who do you think they are, the Swiss? And not to kick you while you're down, but it's spelled "moron". No charge for the lesson this time! : )

    June 21, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Donkey Party

    Also, having been to Israel and Iran, and being of Iranian decent, I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. Now please go crawl back into your mommy's womb and evolve a little more before you come back here again.

    June 21, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    And another thing, an unprovoked attack by Hezbollah against Israel probably wouldn't sit well with the Lebanese Army, or Jordan and Egypt either. In all likelihood, they would side with the Israelies since they wouldn't want this powder keg exploding in their respective back yards. What are they teaching you kids in school these days anyway???

    June 21, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. James, Ho. TX

    Your right Richard, ala ways of G.W. ; member you remember?
    My way or the Highway !

    June 21, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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