August 21, 2006 - ON EVE OF IRANIAN RESPONSE TO INT'L INCENTIVES PACKAGE TO END NUCLEAR PROGRAM, MARKEY URGES BUSH TO STRENGTHEN DIPLOMATIC ROUTE

Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Taskforce on Nonproliferation, criticized the Bush Administration’s failed policy of outsourcing U.S. diplomacy to Europe to end Iran’s nuclear program.  Iran is expected to respond August 22, 2006 to the incentives package put forth by China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to induce them to halt their nuclear program.  The United Nations Security Council has set a deadline of August 31 for the suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program.  Recent press reports have indicated that International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have been refused access by Iran to some of their nuclear facilities.

Markey said, “The Bush Administration policy of outsourcing diplomacy instead of engaging directly with our adversaries is becoming dangerous.  Now both the Bush Administration and the Iranian government appear to be finding political benefits from the escalation of this war of words, instead of stopping nuclear weapons proliferation.  By refusing to negotiate directly with Iran while at the same time ratcheting up the threats of military strikes, Bush has played directly into the hands of the most extreme elements in Iran.”

“If President Ahmadinejad thinks that reducing cooperation with IAEA inspectors will lead to a solution or worse, international acquiescence, he should think again.  Continuing the vigorous IAEA inspections and safeguards are a crucial measure to build trust between Iran and the international community and to create the conditions for a long-term solution,” Markey concluded.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein
202.812.8193