Hagel: Achieving Agreement With Iran Will Take Time

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, as seen on Monday at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. Speaking on Thursday at a Defense One conference, Hagel urged global patience in allowing talks with Iran to play out.
National Journal
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire
See more stories about...
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire
Nov. 14, 2013, 4:02 p.m.

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel on Thursday urged the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ter­na­tion­al and do­mest­ic crit­ics to give ne­go­ti­ations with Ir­an over its con­tested nuc­le­ar pro­gram suf­fi­cient time and space to play out.

“En­gage­ment is not sur­render,” Hagel said at a “De­fense One Sum­mit,” sponsored by a Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire part­ner pub­lic­a­tion. “It’s not ap­pease­ment. And en­gage­ment is not ne­go­ti­ation.”

The De­fense sec­ret­ary said he “felt sorry for Sec­ret­ary Kerry,” giv­en the cri­ti­cism that top U.S. dip­lo­mat John Kerry has re­ceived for not hav­ing clinched an Ir­an deal in Geneva last week along with his “P-5+1” part­ners. The mul­tina­tion­al talks are aimed at pre­vent­ing Tehran from gain­ing an abil­ity to build nuc­le­ar arms in ex­change for re­lief from eco­nom­ic sanc­tions.

Ir­an is dis­cuss­ing that pos­sib­il­ity, un­der the stew­ard­ship of mod­er­ate Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani, along with the five per­man­ent mem­bers of the U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil — China, France, Rus­sia, the United King­dom, and United States — plus Ger­many.

Hagel counseled more pa­tience, sug­gest­ing that ne­go­ti­ations ac­tu­ally had yet to be­gin and say­ing it was un­real­ist­ic that they would bear fruit im­me­di­ately.

“Wait a minute! We’ve been lit­er­ally at some kind of an in­form­al, un­of­fi­cial war with Ir­an since 1979,” he said. “Does any­body really think that we’re all go­ing to get to­geth­er [with] the P-5+1 for a week, and come out of that deal with some tidy little agree­ment?”

Hagel ad­ded that all parties in­volved have “polit­ic­al is­sues” to con­tend with. “This is go­ing to take time, if we’re go­ing to be able to move some­where,” he said.

“At the same time, you al­ways keep a ready, cap­able mil­it­ary that is second to none in the world” as lever­age in the talks, Hagel said. He ad­ded that re­cent suc­cess in per­suad­ing Syr­ia to elim­in­ate its chem­ic­al weapons ar­sen­al was due in large part to the “real, live threat of mil­it­ary force against Syr­ia.”

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has taken sharp cri­ti­cism from Is­raeli lead­ers for an al­leged will­ing­ness to make deep con­ces­sions to Tehran on lift­ing sanc­tions and al­low­ing con­tin­ued urani­um-en­rich­ment in the Per­sian Gulf na­tion.

Mean­while, U.S. law­makers in both cham­bers are pur­su­ing le­gis­la­tion to im­pose new Ir­an sanc­tions in hopes of for­cing a deal that is stricter on Tehran. Kerry and oth­er ad­min­is­tra­tion lead­ers have warned, however, that any such meas­ures could spoil a po­ten­tially fleet­ing op­por­tun­ity for an agree­ment that would rein in Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar ef­fort.

Hagel called Ir­an “a very dan­ger­ous, leth­al, state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism” that causes “tre­mend­ous trouble all over the Middle East, for us [and] for a lot of na­tions.”

However, he said, “if we can move to­ward some com­mon in­terest, to move to some high­er ground, to some pos­sible — po­ten­tial — res­ol­u­tion to a prob­lem, aren’t we smarter to do that?”

What We're Following See More »
“CLINTON MUST BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT”
Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

“MUST NEVER BE PRESIDENT”
Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.

FLOTUS OFFERS STRONG ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON
Michelle Obama: “I Trust” Hillary Clinton
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.

SANDERS BACKER CONFRONTS STUBBORN SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Sarah Silverman to Bernie or Bust: “You’re Being Ridiculous”
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.

‘INEXCUSABLE REMARKS’
DNC Formally Apologizes to Bernie Sanders
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

Source:
×