US vice-president issues stern warnings to Iran

( LatWp ) - Aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf 150 miles off Iran's coast, Vice President Cheney warned Tehran on Friday that the United States and its allies would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, close off vital sea lanes for oil supplies, or control the Middle East.

Cheney issued the blunt warning during his Middle East tour, and just two days before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes his own trip to the gulf. The twin visits reflect the growing rivalry between Washington and Tehran for influence in the region.

``Throughout the region our country has interests to protect and commitments to honor,'' Cheney told Navy staff aboard the USS John C. Stennis. ``With two carrier strike groups in the gulf, we're sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike. We'll keep the sea lanes open. We'll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We'll disrupt attacks on our own forces. We'll continue bringing relief to those who suffer and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom.''

Despite Cheney's tough talk, however, the United States faces so many challenges in Iraq that it is also trying to launch diplomatic dialogue with Tehran to help stabilize the war-ravaged country. As Cheney spoke in the gulf--after stops in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates--the State Department was working to schedule a meeting within the next two weeks between senior U.S. and Iranian officials in Baghdad, U.S. officials said Friday.

The divergent approaches toward Iran reflect the tensions within the administration, particularly between the State Department and the vice president's office about whether to engage with Iran and, if so, how far to go. The bilateral talks being planned and the scope of discussion will be reviewed after the vice president returns from his tour next week, U.S. officials say.

Some in the administration refer to the divergence as a good-cop, bad-cop strategy, others say the it reflects a deep policy divide, with Cheney trying to stall or undermine diplomatic outreach efforts.

Analysts say U.S. strategy is instead simply contradictory. ``On the one hand, U.S. policy involves a series of coercive steps--U.N. resolutions, financial sanctions, arresting Iran's operatives in Iraq, trying to mobilize the gulf states against Iran, giving the kind of speeches with symbolism done today--that is quite comprehensive,'' said Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations. ``On the other side, it's an offer to negotiate that is not well laid-out. But the conciliatory effort is totally negated by the coercive steps, which is why it's not working.''

The United States also may have limited leverage in using either diplomacy or pressure to win Iran's cooperation, given that the changing realities in Iraq increasingly favor Iran.

``There's a critical difference between U.S. time and Iranian time when it comes to Iraq,'' said Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. ``The U.S. is under more pressure by the day to leave Iraq as soon as possible. Iran is watching, on the other hand, a political structure where Iraqi Shiites with close ties to Iran are gaining in power.''

The bilateral talks were agreed to by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the international summit on the future of Iraq last week, senior U.S., Iraqi and Iranian officials said. The meeting is an alternative to the failed Iraqi initiative to bring Rice together with her Iranian counterpart last week in Egypt. Details of the meeting are being worked out through Swiss and Iraqi officials and other channels.

The lead U.S. representative would probably be U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, U.S. officials say. Iran has not yet determined its delegation, but senior diplomat Abbas Araghchi has represented Tehran at two earlier meetings of Iraq's neighbors, also attended by U.S. officials.

State Department officials hope the initial talks can later involve senior officials and address a broader range of subjects--effectively launching a long-term bilateral process. But U.S. officials stress that talks in Baghdad would be limited to Iraq, while the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program will be conducted only by a group including the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

The U.S. diplomatic effort is also vulnerable because of the growing outcry over Iran's detention of Americans over six months. Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as three senior lawmakers called Friday for the immediate release of Haleh Esfandiari, the Iranian American scholar imprisoned in Iran on Tuesday after more than four months under virtual house arrest.

``The Iranian government's detention of this 67-year-old grandmother and scholar shows its complete disregard for basic human rights,'' Obama said in a statement. ``If the Iranian government has any desire to engage the world in dialogue, it can demonstrate that desire by releasing this champion of dialogue from detention.''

Kyrgyzstan imposes restrictive measures at airports
Kyrgyzstan imposes restrictive measures at airports
Kazakhstan's trade structure with EAEU countries for 2M2021 unveiled
Kazakhstan's trade structure with EAEU countries for 2M2021 unveiled
Kyrgyzstan's referendum on new Constitution takes place, turnout was 36.75%
Kyrgyzstan's referendum on new Constitution takes place, turnout was 36.75%
Loading Bars
Latest
More than 805,000 COVID-19 infections detected worldwide over past 24 hours
5.1-magnitude quake hits 20 km S of Mandraki, Greece
Israel reports 142 new COVID-19 cases, 836,882 in total
Yemen's Houthi rebels say launch drone attack on Saudi air base
India's sports minister tests positive for COVID-19
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijan's transport sector
EU to hand over 30 vehicles to Georgia Border Police
Turkish scientist works on drug that can ‘kill COVID-19 in 2 days’
Uzbekistan may start production of its own vaccine against COVID-19 by the end of the year
Russia's Eastwind, Turkmenistan's Turkmensvyaz to sign contract
UK records another 2,206 coronavirus cases, 35 deaths
Iranian official offers upbeat assessment of progress in nuclear talks
Volume of goods transported by Azerbaijan’s vehicles in 2021 disclosed
Indonesia reports 5,041 new COVID-19 cases, 132 new deaths
Global COVID-19 deaths surpass 3 mln - Johns Hopkins University
Geostat reveals volume of Russian exports to Georgia
Solar panel station put into operation in Iran’s Razavi Khorasan Province
New auction to be held for Azerbaijani Finance Ministry's mid-term bonds
Georgia increases import of vehicles from Turkey
Kyrgyzstan imposes restrictive measures at airports
Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds in Iran
Foreigners to pass simplified visa procedures for 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Serbian FM to visit Tehran today
Azerbaijan discloses number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,148 more COVID-19 cases, 2,287 recoveries
Armenia falsified Caucasian Albania temples in Azerbaijan - rep of religious community
Iran to send trade attaché to Azerbaijan
Weekly review of major events in Azerbaijan's oil & gas sector
Azerbaijan shares footage from Jabrayil's Dash Veysalli village (VIDEO)
Armenia strived to create history for itself in Azerbaijan's lands - Head of Albanian-Udi community
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for April 17
Volume of loaded and unloaded cargo in Iran’s Charak port climbs
Azerbaijani oil prices on rise
VICE News report on Armenia's attack on Azerbaijani Barda nominated for award
Weekly review of main events in ICT sector of Azerbaijan
Earnings from fuel savings in Iran paid to investors
Uzbekistan's CCI, Portuguese Industrial Association establish co-op
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Rosatom, Uzbekistan working on contract for building nuclear power plant
Turkmenistan to create electronic exchange database
IMF calls on Georgia to reduce capital expenditures in case of lockdown
Russia reports a new high of 9,321 coronavirus cases since March 20
Azerbaijan's Albanian-Udi Christian community members visit ancient temple in Tugh - Trend TV (PHOTO)
OSCE MG should force Armenia to follow terms of trilateral statement - Azerbaijan's Parliament
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Azerbaijan, Turkic Council discuss creation of joint digital tools
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
EU rep should follow int'l law before meeting with separatist in Karabakh - expert
Potential areas of Turkmenistan’s interaction within Visegrad Group+Central Asia framework identified
Georgia reports 1,219 new coronavirus cases for April 17
Georgia holds auction for privatization of state property
Azerbaijani MP talks about spring session of IPA CIS held in Russia's St. Petersburg
Georgia continues to conduct research on Namakhvani HPP
Iran unveils details exports from Maragheh County
Kazakhstan reveals total number of TEU containers shipped along Aktau-Baku feeder line
There have always been good grape varieties in Pirshaghi – white and black Shani - President Aliyev
Participants of Azercell Student Bursary and Internship Programs share their success stories
Iran boosts aluminum ingots production
Azerbaijani police find mortar shells, detonators left by Armenia in Gubadly (VIDEO)
Iran declares amount of loans issued to SMEs
Kazakhstan's revenues from road cargo transportation down
Concept of ensuring security of Afghan section of TAPI signed
Members of Albanian-Udi Christian religious community of Azerbaijan visit liberated Khojavand (PHOTO)
Australia to continue review of COVID vaccinations - health minister
Italian media outlets highlight speech of Azerbaijani president at int'l conference in Baku
Kazakhstan decreases import of Ukraine-made goods y-o-y
Kazakh national atomic company's subsidiary opens tender to buy compressors
Azerbaijan sets up structure to work on urban planning in liberated lands
Kazakhstan's oil & gas company opens tender to develop consolidated time standards
Meeting of EU special rep with so-called "FM of Karabakh" promotes separatism, says Azerbaijani expert
Iranian currency rates for April 17
Iran to increase vaccinations as fourth wave of COVID-19 rises
Iran reaches target uranium enrichment
Oil demand to keep on rising in May, June 2021
Work on provision of electricity to Azerbaijan's liberated Sugovushan nearing completion
Bulgaria sees Georgia as valuable partner
Significant number of Georgian citizens register for employment program in Israel
Kazakhstan’s COVID-19 caseload up by 2,822
Ukraine receives first batch of Pfizer vaccine under COVAX initiative
IMF corrects estimate on Iran's foreign exchange bank reserves
Azerbaijan attracting foreign investments for renewable energy projects
Uzbekistan to open an embassy in Sweden
Global COVID-19 infection rate approaching highest: WHO
Portugal resumes flights to Brazil, Britain
Turkey reports over 63,000 daily COVID-19 cases
EU eyes to provide grants to Georgian non-profit organizations
Israel reports 41 new COVID-19 cases, 836,740 in total
Biden signs order keeping Trump-era refugee cap at 15,000
EU-UK trade plunges after Brexit: Eurostat
UK records another 2,596 coronavirus cases, 34 deaths
UN Security Council approves ceasefire monitors for Libya
North Macedonia vaccinates some 35,000 citizens
Raul Castro resigning from Cuba’s Communist Party
Azerbaijani IT company working on creating new network, server infrastructures
Georgian Economy Ministry to form expert council on Namakhvani HPP
Relations between Russia, Azerbaijan attain degree of strategic alliance - Federation Council Chair of Russian Federal Assembly
Turkish engineers develop fiber that kills coronavirus in minutes
Uzbekistan’s gold and foreign exchange reserves drop to $32.6 billion
Iran’s petrochemical output to reach $40b: Oil Minister
Relations within CIS IA to make comprehensive partnership ties more profound among member states - Chair of Azerbaijani Parliament (PHOTO)
All news