National Security Network

Iran

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A Difficult Challenge Requires Firm Diplomacy Not Bluster

Iran
We need leadership that can engage Iran using smarter diplomatic strategies and tough-nosed negotiations, instead of depending on overblown rhetoric and threats of war. While the Bush administration refused to talk to Iran, the country’s influence throughout the Middle East increased, and the threat of its nuclear program grew. Bluster, isolation and incompetence have failed. Smart, strong leadership is needed.
Read the full paper: The Progressive Approach: Iran »

Iran

NSN Daily Update: Pressure and Possibility

Report 4 January 2012

Facing intense political pressure, with elections due in March, and economic and currency collapse brought on by sanctions, Iran has ratcheted up its military bluster in the Straits of Hormuz and sent conciliatory messages looking toward new talks on its nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iran’s regional support is dwindling as Syria’s travails continue and its former clients look for other supporters. Military and diplomatic leaders seek to balance a firm line in response to threats to the economically vital strait while avoiding escalation that aids only extremists in Iran. They have gone out of their way as well to debunk a shoddy case for war that overstates Iran’s regional power and understates the costs of force to the U.S., our economy and our allies.

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Iran

Heather Hurlburt Quoted in JTA on Iran Sanctions

News Jewish Telegraphic Agency 18 December 2011
Iran

Amid Tensions with Iran, “No Need for Hysteria and Panic”

Report 6 December 2011
Tensions on the ground and the political calendar in the U.S. have put concerns over Iran's nuclear program again in the spotlight. A report out today and a presidential candidates' forum tomorrow will highlight a one-dimensional approach - public threats of force.  But military and intelligence experts argue for a firm, but quiet and multi-dimensional approach.  They say that an Iranian nuclear weapon is neither inevitable nor the beginning of the apocalypse - and that a smart, realistic policy must be twinned with clear communication in order to avoid sleepwalking into war. As Ambassador James Dobbins and his RAND colleagues write: "Pure engagement has little short- or even medium-term prospect of attaining any of the three main U.S. objectives. Containment affects only Iran's external behavior. Preemption deals only with the nuclear issue, and then only temporarily. Deterrence makes sense only if combined with containment and some minimal form of engagement, if only to prevent accidental disaster. Neither normalization nor regime change is a feasible short term objective. Realistic policy must be fashioned at some intermediate point across each of these three spectrums."
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Iran

London, Tehran, a Gas Station Near You

Report 30 November 2011
A chain of events which began last week with tough new UK sanctions on Iran has now led to apparently orchestrated protestors swarming the British Embassy in Tehran and a UK decision to close the embassy and order Iranian diplomats in London to leave the country. As tensions rise and the Senate prepares to consider additional sanctions -- this time against Iran's Central Bank -- the world oil market is bracing itself for the worst. When tensions with Iran peaked in 2007 and speculation of an attack grew, the cost of a barrel of oil jumped 36 percent. During a time of fragile economic recovery, such a spike would have a serious impact on the U.S. economy. And as additional pressure is applied, Iran continues to try and spin this to its advantage politically. Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies explains, "Threats of a military option or regime change only reinforce their determination to resist."
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Iran

NSN Special Update: Military and Security Leaders, Public Reject Conservative Saber-Rattling On Iran

Report 18 November 2011
After intense back-and-forth at the GOP presidential primary debate, the past week has seen an outpouring of commentary from military leaders, security experts and diplomats, rejecting a saber-rattling approach to Iran. Such analysis has been echoed by leading opinion writers, fact-checkers and public polling, including a CBS poll that shows a majority of Americans believe Iran can be dealt with without military action. Expert opinion stands in sharp contrast to the aggressive rhetoric coming from the conservative candidates for president. As Ambassador William Luers, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Jim Walsh write, "[I]ncreasingly grave warnings and hostile language are unlikely to change the policies of Tehran's nuclear program - but could bring the U.S. closer to military conflict." Here is a collection of top commentaries from the past week:
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Iran

Geneive Abdo Quoted in CNN on Iran

News CNN 10 November 2011
Iran

IAEA Iran Report – What’s at Stake

Report 7 November 2011
This week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will present a report with new details on components of Iran's nuclear program that have long been a concern.  The report will not, apparently, contain a "smoking gun," and it will not answer what intelligence officials say is the critical question: has Iran made the political decision to obtain a nuclear weapon. Before the report is even out, bellicose rhetoric has ramped up, based on what security experts say is the false assumption that a limited aerial strike - rather than a full-scale invasion - could eliminate the nuclear program and avoid harming America's security and that of our allies. Experts say that this saber-rattling may actually make an Iranian decision to weaponize more likely.  
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