Letters To The Editor


April 16, 2006

Open real dialogue with Iran's leaders

The Sun's excellent editorial on Iran needs a couple points of clarification ("Don't go there," April 11).

First, let's keep in mind that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), after three years of intensive investigation of Iran's nuclear development program, has said: "The agency has not seen indications of diversion of nuclear materials to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

In fact, on March 30, the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei said, "Nobody has the right to punish Iran for enrichment. We have not seen nuclear materials diverted to a nuclear weapon."

The United States must now engage Iran in a real dialogue that will lead to a regional alliance that will make all of the Middle East free of nuclear weapons.

Whether it has been through ignorance, hubris or the influence of the neoconservatives within and outside his administration, President Bush's record on this issue is abysmal.

In the early years of this administration, Iran, on several occasions, tried to engage the United States in negotiations to foster better relations. But it was rebuffed every time.

Surely the Bush administration knows that without Iran's cooperation, nothing can be resolved in the region - and that schoolyard threats and intimidation on both sides will resolve nothing.

The dream of regime change in Iran by the neoconservatives and their allies is just that - a dream.

Twenty-six years of enmity and separation have left Iran and the United States without much knowledge and experience about each other.

Is it not about time for the Bush administration to get real, face the facts and engage Iran in a dialogue that will benefit both countries and the region?

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Lose the legislators who blew BGE deal

I saw it on the news - the General Assembly awash in self-satisfied celebration at the end of the session. Confetti fell, backs were slapped and congratulations seemed the final order of business.

But, to the detriment of the citizens, the General Assembly couldn't come to grips with the deregulation mess it set into motion back in 1999 ("How deal on energy died in last hours," April 12).

Any student of Economics 101 should know that if you hold energy rates below market-level prices, there is zero chance of any competition developing. Yet our good representatives are now shocked at the unfortunate turn of events.

What they should be worried about is a motivated electorate holding them accountable for where we are today.

Unfortunately, chances are that few people will remember this issue come November, and the usual suspects will be re-elected again.

Bad habits are hard to break.

Melvin Barnhart


City liquor board finally doing its job

Thanks to the current Baltimore liquor board, city bars that cater to underage drinkers with "college night" events are finally being held accountable for liquor law violations ("Smith seen dominating liquor board," April 12).

Busloads of intoxicated young people coming from these bars have been regularly dropped off in my Towson neighborhood at 3 a.m. for years now.

This presents a serious public safety hazard, as they then get in their cars and drive off in various states of inebriation.

Obviously, the implications of such liquor-sales violations extend well beyond the boundaries of Baltimore.

The current commissioners have really gotten it right simply by doing their jobs, and city legislators and everyone else ought to be as pleased about this as I am.

Corinne Becker


The writer is president of the Riderwood Hills Community Association.

Immigrants depress earnings of others

As the grandchild of legal immigrants, I support the enforcement of the current immigration laws, the immediate deportation of illegal aliens and the immediate defense of our borders to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants and terrorists ("Marching for immigrant rights," April 11). Let's deploy the military to the border to protect our nation.

It is also time to recognize the facts on illegal immigration.

To deny that the influx of low-skilled immigrants willing to work cheaply depresses the wages of workers who are already here is to deny the basic laws of economics.

Our illegal immigrant population continues to rise unabated and now stands at 11.5 million to 12 million, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Harvard economist George Borjas, a leading authority on the economics of immigration, concluded that from 1980 to 2000, immigration reduced the average annual earnings of native-born men by $1,700, or nearly 4 percent; for the poorest 10th of the work force, the reduction was much larger, 7.4 percent; and college graduates had their earnings lowered an estimated 3.6 percent.

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