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October 1st, 2009
10:52 AM ET

Don't threaten Iran, Carter says

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — The United States and other nations should take a diplomatic approach toward Iran in negotiations over that nation's nuclear program, former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday.

Iran's nuclear chief and representatives from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, as well as Germany, are scheduled to start talks Thursday in Switzerland over a recently revealed nuclear facility in Iran.

Tehran says it is developing its nuclear program for energy purposes, but many nations believe Iran wants to make nuclear weapons and will be able to do so in the near future.

A deliberate approach will work best, Carter said.

"I hope and pray that Iran will be induced to permit international inspectors to come in and observe their entire nuclear program, because what they're doing so far is completely illegal under the nonproliferation treaty," the former president said in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley.

"They have a right to purify uranium and plutonium to use for nuclear power. If Iran is on the borderline, the constant threats that we or the Israelis are going to attack Iran is the best thing to force them to say, 'Let's defend ourselves.' I don't think Iran has made up their mind what to do, and I think the best thing we can do is engage them and stop making these idle threats."

Iran said Tuesday it will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the new facility, but it did not offer a timetable for those visits.

Filed under: Iran • Politics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. DLusky

    Carter was a remarkably ineffective president. It's a wonder anybody still listens to him. He is blinded by his support for terrorists in Palestine, Iran, Venezuela and others and his feelings that anyone who disagrees with President Obama is a racist.

    October 8, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  2. Rob

    President Carter is just a distraction from the reality of the situation.

    Look! For the first time in history we're faced with a nation who, more likely than not, would almost immediately, and suicidally, use nuclear weapons against it's very clearly and often stated enemies. Us.

    People who passionately desire and embrace death, people who are ultimately responsible for countless suicide attacks around the world, people who fervently believe they must violently sacrifice themselves, and innocents, in the name of "Allah" are doing everything humanly possible to make nuclear weapons!

    Now is NOT the time for pacifism, and we'd all best brace ourselves for something ..unexpected, because it's obvious we're on a collision course, one way or another, with Iran.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  3. Rich Beplat

    It seems that CNN anchors and correspondents don't perform any original research on their own. How is it that the fact that Israel has over 300 nuclear weapons is never discussed as a destabilizing factor in the mid-east? Also, Israel is not a signer of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty that Iran, who is a signer, is accused of violating? More efforts need to be devoted toward getting Israel to join the family of nations and sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and get rid of their nuclear weapons. How can Iran, or any other mid east country, feel safe with Israel possessing nuclear weapons? The answer is for those with nuclear weapons to disarm, not for more sanctions against Iran.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  4. ronvan

    I can agree that Iran has the right to build neculear power plants. BUT, why do they build them underground in bomb proof shelters, next to holy sites & populated area's, and with so much secrecy? The vast majority of "REAL" power plants are above ground! Then the comments of President Carter. I again agree with what President Obama is doing right now. He is TRYING to give them the opportunity to get their act together and just this morning hearing that he has given them 2 weeks! The problem is what does he do after the two weeks? France, Britain & others said they are in agreement on further actions, but will this wind up with the U. S. in the lead once again? I do not care if we bomb them into history, but the U. S. is not the only ones that can do it!

    October 2, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  5. jim vicalvi

    When are they going to commit this doddering, old, senile fool to an institution. We already have a president wannabe who continually insults the country that he supposedly represents and tells other countries how bad the people of the US are. We don't need a loose cannon like carter and his equally senile wife out there. In his interview he talks about how great his presidency was and how that greatness is still happening with his library. That right there should be enough to get him committed. An elder statesman? I think not. An older incompetent buffoon might be closer to the truth.

    October 2, 2009 at 6:41 am |
  6. ken

    Carter is right. Iran has every right to develop nuclear power. France has 90% nuclear power and they are whining about iran having nuclear power. The us has 10,000 nukes and is planning to consturct another 40 nuclear power plants. The they are bad and we are good argument makes no sense. Israel has hundreds of nukes, hundreds of planes, subs, missles, chemical weapons, and could wipe out iran in seconds. Iran is just an ant if they want to build an ant hill big deal.

    October 2, 2009 at 6:39 am |