Chairman Concerned over Lack of U.S.-Iran Contact

CORAL GABLES, Fla. , Sept. 14, 2011 — There has been no con­tact between Iran and the Unit­ed States since the 1970s, and that con­cerns the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dur­ing a stop at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said that the lack of con­tact between the Unit­ed States and Iran is trou­bling.

“Even in the dark­est days of the Cold War, U.S. offi­cials could still talk with the Sovi­ets,” the admi­ral said. In the ear­ly 1960s, U.S. and Sovi­et lead­ers had the Hot Line that went straight from the White House to the Krem­lin. The Unit­ed States and Sovi­et Union had the two largest armories of nuclear weapons. Both nations had nuclear-armed forces on alert at all times.

The hot­line allowed U.S. and Sovi­et lead­ers to quick­ly call each oth­er to get accu­rate infor­ma­tion if ten­sions ratch­eted up.

Like­wise, there were con­tacts at the Unit­ed Nations and oth­er areas. The Unit­ed States and Sovi­et Union had embassies and con­sulates in each oth­ers’ coun­try. This less­ened the risk of a war start­ing due to mis­cal­cu­la­tion or acci­dent, Mullen said.

The Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion deposed the Shah of Iran in 1979. In 1980, Iran­ian rad­i­cals stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 Amer­i­cans hostage. They were released in Jan­u­ary 1981, and there have been no offi­cial con­tacts between the nations since.

Iran is attempt­ing to devel­op nuclear weapons and wants region­al hege­mo­ny in the Mid­dle East, Mullen said. The lack of con­tact between the Unit­ed States and Iran could be dan­ger­ous to the region and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)