Prepared Testimony by William Luers Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing: Iran, Security Threats and U.S. Policy

October 28, 2003

Most importantly, the Iranians have expressed concern about U.S. policies toward Iran. They say that Iranian officials believe that dealing with the United States is particularly difficult for Iran since the U.S. does not seek “policy change” on the part of the Iranian government but “regime change” and nothing short of “regime change” will satisfy the U.S. From public official U.S. statements and the general impression they have had from the few direct talks with U.S. officials, Iranians claim that they are discouraged from making any steps toward ameliorating some U.S. objections to Iranian behavior because the U.S. will always require more “concessions” until the Iranian government is overthrown or removed. The Iranians say that the U.S. does not seem prepared to make comparable steps to encourage movement toward resolution of some of the core issues. They would be far more ready to discuss the core issues between the two nations and engage in negotiations with the United States if they believed that U.S. policy was committed not to the overthrow of the current Iranian system, but to working toward mutually beneficial steps.