National Security Network

Iran

Iran Iran

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

Bushehr Does Not Bring Iran Closer to the Bomb

Report 26 October 2010
Today's announcement that Iran has begun loading fuel into its nuclear power plant at Bushehr is a sideshow - designed by Iran's leaders to distract attention from how U.S.-led sanctions are starting to bite.  The move does not bring Iran closer to a nuclear weapon capability - the Bushehr plant is under IAEA safeguards and the Russians are providing and taking back the fuel, denying Iran the opportunity to divert the spent fuel for military purposes.  It does, however, allow war hawks to ignore the concerns of military and national security experts and ramp up their rhetoric in support of a military strike against Iran.  The administration's comprehensive Iran policy is aimed at the real threat-Iran's enrichment program-and it has been effective at sharpening Tehran's choices.  The White House has mobilized key states, including Russia and China, and has won strong support for international sanctions, which experts agree, are starting to bite. 
More »
Iran

Politicizing War Against Iran

Report 12 October 2010
Today, on a Newsmax broadcast, Sarah Palin proclaimed that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons would result in a battle between good and evil, leading to "Armageddon."  Palin's remarks are the most recent in a litany of bellicose rhetoric made by extreme conservatives about how to deal with Iran.  Yet despite the attempts to use Iran as a political football to scare voters and intimidate policy makers into taking military action against Iran, national security experts and military leaders disagree with such an approach. In addition, the voters aren't buying this argument, as a recent poll showed that only two in ten Americans would go to war with Iran if that country tested a nuclear bomb.  What is striking about the hard right's hyperventilating on this issue is how it reveals the deep fissures in conservative circles on national security policy, particularly between neoconservative military interventionism and Tea Party isolationism, which is ambiguous on military action.  Nonetheless, despite the fact that the Obama administration's dual-track approach towards Iran of sanctions and diplomacy is beginning to bear fruit, the loudest conservative voices continue to be the most militant ones.  However, policymakers should be wary of these arguments during this election season, as we have seen them before in the context of Iraq, where the most militant rhetoric won out during the midterm congressional campaign season of 2002.  A skeptical eye needs to be drawn towards those who would use military action against Iran as a political tool rather than treating it as the serious national security issue that it is. 
More »
Iran

Military Strike on Iran is a Bad Idea

Report 1 October 2010
Over the last few weeks, American neoconservatives and war hawks have ramped up their rhetoric in support of a military strike against Iran.  Specifically, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) have promoted this view.  Yet despite this fear-mongering rhetoric, the facts against a military strike remain as powerful as ever, as does the apprehension of those who would actually have to live with the consequences of such a war, from Israeli President Shimon Peres to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.  As a cynical political move, stoking the flames of fear is an effort to stir up an anxious base.  We have seen this argument before, specifically when when two dozen Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers this past summer offered a resolution expressing their support for Israel "to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force."  These failed arguments are identical to the ones used to rally support for the war in Iraq.  And just as during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, these war advocates are rallying their political base at the expense of both our country's security and that of our Middle Eastern allies.
More »
Iran

Don’t Fall for Ahmadinejad’s Games

Report 22 September 2010
As world leaders gather at the United Nations this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is up to his usual tricks. By using demagoguery to inspire fear and controversy, Iran's president is hoping to distract the international community from the internal Iranian political dynamics that are challenging his leadership.  The combination of controversies brought on by Ahmadinejad's clumsy power grabs, turmoil in the Iranian economy and a nuclear program beset with technical problems and rising public doubts makes it clear that a large gulf separates the president's rhetoric and reality. These dynamics provide a crucial window of opportunity for the U.S. and its partners to press their advantage and to resume active negotiations with Iran over its nuclear activities.  American national security leaders from across the political spectrum agree that the U.S. would "lose nothing" by pressing to restart talks.
More »
Iran

Rejecting fear of Muslims in America and Iran

News The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 26 August 2010
Iran

Talking up an attack on Tehran

News The Guardian 17 August 2010
Iran

Strong Case against Strike on Iran Remains

Report 12 August 2010
Over the last few weeks, American neoconservatives and war hawks have peppered the media with speculation about an Israeli military attack on Iran. Yesterday, an article in The Atlantic gave added weight to this speculation by rating the likelihood of an Israeli strike in the next year at greater than 50 percent, based on more than 40 interviews with current and past Israeli officials. But the factors that make up a powerful case against military action on Iran have not changed. Nor has the clear, bipartisan apprehension among those who would have to fight such a war and live with its aftermath, from Israeli President Shimon Peres to Admiral Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
More »
Iran

Iran Strategy Showing Results

Report 5 August 2010
President Obama surprised reporters yesterday when he, together with his national security team, briefed reporters about his administration's policy toward Iran. Their chief conclusion: U.S.-led efforts to isolate Iran for failing to be fully transparent about its nuclear intentions are proving successful. Admitting that changing Iran's calculus is a difficult feat, Obama nevertheless described how the administration's efforts to isolate Iran have been more effective - both at garnering international support and influencing Iran's leadership - than had been widely expected.  In a potential indication of the country's sense of its growing political and economic isolation, Iran's top diplomats have said that the country is ready to return to the negotiating table to discuss the country's nuclear program.  This is an opportunity that should not be ignored, as a diplomatic solution, supported by the international community, represents the best course for dealing with Iran.  What should not be heeded are calls for military action against Iran. A military option would jettison this new level of pressure on Iran, undercut broader American security goals in the region, harm the Iranian people and do little to degrade Iran's nuclear program.  Even the discussion of a military option gives the regime a rhetorical foothold and undercuts the international consensus against the regime. The administration's pressure strategy, buttressed by effective diplomacy, should therefore continue to guide the way forward on Iran policy.
More »
Iran

World Unites behind Obama’s Iran Policy

Report 23 June 2010
Since the UN Security Council passed a new package of targeted sanctions against Iran in response to the country's continued intransigence on the nuclear issue, there has been a wave of developments which confirm that the Obama administration has achieved strong international backing for its dual-track Iran policy of engagement and pressure.  Specifically, countries such as Canada and Australia, as well as the European Union, have approved their own independent targeted sanctions measures intended to isolate the Iranian regime.  In addition, longtime Iranian-supporter Russia has also announced that it will not move forward with the sale of a sophisticated air defense system to Tehran, marking a powerful signal of Iran's growing international isolation.
More »
Iran

BloggingHeads: Heather Hurlburt and Eli Lake

News BloggingHeads 13 June 2010