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

Consensus Grows: Bombing Iran Not an Option

Report 1 March 2010
Yesterday, Brookings Institution scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Bruce Riedel published a powerful op-ed in the Financial Times opposing a military strike on Iran.  Their arguments against such a policy were based on a clear-headed analysis of the costs versus benefits of such an action.  In their view, not only would military action fail to eliminate Iran's nuclear program, but its mere mention lacks credibility.  The arguments against potential American military action are compelling. 
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Iran

Confronting Iran's Nuclear Program

Report 24 February 2010
Concerns over Iran's nuclear activities are growing following the release of a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  The report confirms Iran's lack of cooperation on its nuclear program, evasion which prevents the agency from confirming that the program is strictly for peaceful purposes.  These findings raise troubling questions and  show that Iran must be more forthcoming about its nuclear program. But they are not a cause for panic.  In fact, they should create the opposite response, as Obama administration efforts to increase pressure on Iran are bringing more clarity and consensus about how to deal with this global challenge.
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Iran

Pressure Mounts on Iran’s Rulers

Report 11 February 2010
Opposition supporters clashed with Iranian security forces on the streets of Tehran today in smaller-than-anticipated protests marking the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. What is clear from today is that the opposition movement continues to put pressure on the Iranian government from the inside against the backdrop of increasing international pressure from the outside. Instead of the clumsy intervention favored by certain neoconservative pundits, the U.S. should embrace the recommendations favored by well-recognized experts on Iran.  
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Iran

Beware Neocons Politicizing Intelligence on Iran

Report 19 January 2010
Last week, Newsweek reported that the U.S. intelligence community would be revising the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran.  Reports on the content of this revised intelligence estimate on Iran have coincided with broader efforts by some neoconservatives to politicize intelligence gathering, raising the possibility of neoconservative intelligence manipulation to beat the war-drum on Iran.   

Not only was this the case in the run-up to the Iraq war, but following the release of the 2007  NIE on Iran, which dealt a severe setback to war talk against Iran, several prominent neoconservatives attacked the intelligence community for a releasing an estimate that failed to advance their dangerous arguments for military action.

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Iran

On Iran, Let the President Lead

Report 5 January 2010
Yesterday, Secretary Clinton issued a firm challenge to the Iranian regime, inviting them to the negotiating table, while emphasizing that the U.S. would not stand by in the face of their continued intransigence. 
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Iran

As Pressure on Iran Mounts, Neoconservatives Press Toward War

Report 16 December 2009
In a sign of increased frustration with Iran’s unwillingness to accept America’s “outstretched hand,” the House of Representatives moved yesterday to approve broad sanctions legislation targeting Iran’s petroleum industry. For its part, the Iranian regime remained defiant, pledging continued opposition, even as it struggled to contain the persistent rifts that have emerged in the wake of last summer’s election crisis. Attention now shifts to the Senate and ultimately to the Obama administration, which supports measures aimed at pressuring Iran that receive international backing, a key ingredient for those measures’ success. They are joined in this view by a wide array of national security experts, who in addition to arguing for a multilateral diplomatic approach, have pushed for targeting sanctions on specific key regime figures and entities, as well as fitting any future steps within an overall strategy that continues to keep engagement on the table.
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Iran

On Iran, Stick to the Strategy

Report 9 December 2009
The last few weeks have witnessed significant developments related to Iran. Against this backdrop, The Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement strategy to both ramp up the pressure on and assess progress with Iran by the end of the year has continued to move forward effectively. This was in evidence when 25 countries, including all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, voted to support censure of Iran at the IAEA for its unwillingness to be fully transparent over its nuclear ambitions. In addition, instability stemming from Iran’s post-election crisis this summer has continued, with protests taking place on a scale not seen since the election itself. . Yet despite this dynamic situation, Congress is moving swiftly to impose unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic. While sanctions can serve as a useful diplomatic instrument and congressional pressure can send an important signal that U.S. patience with Iran is limited, moving forward with unilateral sanctions at this time may create more problems than solutions on this thorny issue.
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Iran

Diplomacy a Process, Not a One-Shot Deal

Report 30 October 2009
Even as Iran reportedly responded negatively to a deal over its uranium enrichment program, a bipartisan and international consensus against it remains strong.  After years of division and uncertainty, for the first time there is clear international agreement that Iran must accept limits on its nuclear program.  American diplomatic leadership on this issue, absent for the past decade, has brought the world to the closest point it has been to beginning to rein in Iran’s nuclear program
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Iran

Smart, Strategic Diplomacy Needed with Iran

Report 29 October 2009
As international negotiations continue with Iran over its nuclear program, lawmakers in Washington have introduced several pieces of legislation to implement significant unilateral sanctions. But while some argue that the threat of increased sanctions will strengthen the Obama administrations diplomatic hand, the advancement of such sanctions is not a zero cost game and may even have the opposite effect. The strategic approach that the administration has pursued on Iran, where it has implemented smart sanctions alongside effective multilateral diplomacy buttressed by effective communication with the Iranian people - will be affected by any Congressional action on sanctions. Policy makers must be careful to ensure that such moves will not undermine the President and the current state of diplomacy with Iran.
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