Democrats Propose Posting U.S. Diplomat in Iran

February 19, 2013

            On February 15, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced legislation that would reestablish a new diplomatic envoy to Iran. The high level envoy would be responsible for pursuing direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with Tehran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) said the United States must revise its no contact policy and “use all diplomatic tools available.” The following is a press release from her office.

            Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the “Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act,” which would create a high level Special Envoy to Iran. The act pushes diplomacy as a vital route to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to pursue direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran in order to prevent war, and support human rights. 
            “The darkening clouds surrounding Iran’s nuclear program are troubling. We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.  To do that, we must lift the ‘no contact policy and begin negotiations,” Congresswoman Lee said.
            The bill calls for eliminating the State Department’s ‘no contact’ policy that prevents State Department officers and employees from making any direct contact with Iranian counterparts. The bill outlines measures to pursue opportunities to build mutual trust and to foster sustained negotiations in good faith with Iran.
            Original cosponsors include Representatives Earl Blumenauer, John Conyers, John Dingell, Keith Ellison, Rush Holt, Hank Johnson, James McGovern, Jim Moran, Betty McCollum, and Bobby Rush.