U.S. Senator Hoeven backs peace process in Afghanistan, opposes Iran deal, urges allies to deploy troops against ISIS

By Sana Jamal

FARGO (North Dakota) – An influential American Senator John Hoeven has backed a negotiated settlement of Afghan crisis and urged regional states to deploy troops to fight ISIS.

In an interview with Pakistan Observer correspondent, Republican Senator for the U.S. state of North Dakota advocated that the United States and its allies should continue to maintain sanctions against Iran.

He also believed that “in any case, Pakistan’s commitment to opposing extremists, including the Taliban in Afghanistan, will be critical to stabilizing the region.”

When asked about Afghan peace process, the Senator maintained that he was concerned with the recent surge in violence in Afghanistan, which made negotiations difficult.

Senator Hoeven also believed that “in the near-term, Afghanistan needs strong security forces to push back the Taliban on the battlefield and claimed that “if Afghanistan demonstrates strength in fighting the Taliban and its unity government continues to show its resilience, future negotiations could become much more credible.”

Senator John Hoeven
Senator John Hoeven

Senator John Hoeven who is well versed with Mideast politics, urged a united stand between the U.S. and its allies against terrorists groups like ISIS. But instead of re-deployment of the U.S. forces in the region, Senator Hoeven urged for the “need to work with our allies in the region to defeat ISIS.”

When asked about his position on Iran-nuclear deal, U.S. Senator John Hoeven has reiterated his opposition to Iran nuclear deal termed it a “mistake” as the deal leaves Iran’s nuclear program intact.

“We sanctioned Iran because we sought the end of its nuclear program, and when Iran’s leaders recognized the strength of these sanctions, they came to the bargaining table”, Senator John Hoeven argued. He maintained that “the recent deal leaves Iran’s nuclear program intact, and I believe this is a mistake.”

Senator Hoeven argued that the United States should keep sanctions in place and “seek to negotiate a deal that reaches the original goal of ending Iran’s nuclear program.”

Taking a tough line against Iranian nuclear program, Senator Hoeven claimed that, “It is in the world’s interest to dismantle that program rather than ending sanctions with Iran’s nuclear program still in place.”

The U.S. Senator with a strong economic and energy background also warned that “World energy demand will continue to rise in the future.”

He argued that the challenge was to not only generate more energy “but to ensure energy is available where it is needed.”

When asked what advice he would suggest to countries like Pakistan to overcome future challenges, the Senator advised “Governments need to establish the best legal, tax and regulatory climate possible to incentivize private sector investment in the industry.”

He added that “in my home state of North Dakota, we have worked hard to encourage the private sector’s development of hydraulic fracturing techniques. Our coal industry and wind energy producers are also working on new technologies to produce and distribute energy.” Energy security is also critical for businesses to drive economic development and create good jobs, he said.

Job creation in his home state, North Dakota, is the number one priority for Senator Hoeven. Energy, technology, agriculture, he believes, is they key to make state economy stronger and to provide people high quality of life. “This should be the priority at state level and also on national level” for the United States.

Published in Pakistan Observer on 8 October 2015