Conyers Moves on Iran Diplomacy
Iran seems kind of tepid so far on the Obama administration’s outreach, but some on the Hill are undeterred. On Thursday, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) will introduce a sense-of-Congress resolution urging the State Department and the Navy to negotiate an “Incidents at Sea” treaty with the Iranians.
The idea, on the surface, is to establish a navy-to-navy communications protocol so near-miss confrontations like last year’s incident in the Strait of Hormuz can be avoided. As Conyers’ resolution puts it, “the absence of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran need not be an obstacle to direct, military to military talks on procedural issues involving the safety of naval personnel and assets,” especially when such a thing “could help protect American lives and treasure.” Beyond that, though, the resolution creates a subtle communication channel for further talks. “It also might carve out some political space in the Congress for diplomacy,” a congressional source explains.
Conyers’ office is apparently in touch with State and the Navy but hasn’t yet gotten a substantive response.