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

Dickering Over Uranium

News The Wall Street Journal 24 October 2009
Iran

Engagement Paying Dividends on Iran while Advancing Administration’s Global Non-Proliferation Agenda

Report 21 October 2009
This morning brought welcome news of progress in multilateral talks with Iran over its nuclear program – and a comprehensive reminder of how US global engagement to reduce and control the threat nuclear weapons pose can pay off in dealing with Iran, North Korea and other key regional concerns. A diplomatic deal has been struck to send Iran’s uranium to Russia to be processed and sent back to Iran as relatively harmless fuel for civilian nuclear power plants. The deal, which must still be officially confirmed by Friday by all governments, would push back the prospect of Iran developing a nuclear weapon for a number of years. This arrangement is the latest demonstration of diplomacy paying dividends to address immediate flashpoints while also advancing the global non-proliferation agenda. It stands in stark contrast to the Bush administration’s record, which failed to both deal effectively with Iran’s nuclear program and stem the flow of dangerous weapons.
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Iran

Pressure Builds on Iran as International Talks Continue

Report 20 October 2009
Talks are taking place in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program amongst the United States, our European allies, and the Iranians. The Obama administration has pursued an aggressive diplomatic strategy towards Iran, rooted in international legitimacy. As a result, these talks have seen an increase in pressure on the Iranians while the international nonproliferation regime has also been strengthened. This is a welcome contrast to the Bush years, when tough sounds about Iran were made while the Iranians built up their nuclear program without delay. Because of the administration’s approach, the Iranian regime is under a level of international pressure that they have never felt before.
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Iran

Negotiations Take a Step Forward

Report 2 October 2009
Yesterday in Geneva negotiations between Iran and diplomats from the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany--the so-called P5+1-- got off to a promising start. Iran preliminarily agreed to: let international inspectors into the previously-secret enrichment facility and Qom within two weeks; give up most of its stockpile of uranium; and intensify talks in the coming weeks. The results from yesterday’s meetings demonstrate that the administration’s broader efforts to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime are also building support for its hardheaded policy towards Iran. Yet despite robust evidence of international legitimacy and support for the administration’s approach – as well as real results – conservatives are fuming.
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Iran

Amidst Conservative Hysteria, U.S. Talks to Iran

Report 1 October 2009
Today, Iran and the international community are finally sitting down for much anticipated talks. The meeting in Geneva between Iran and the U.S, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany, also known as the “P5 + 1,” comes at a momentous time. Since President Obama’s inauguration nine months ago, the administration has made strong efforts to draw Iran into negotiations. This has occurred against a tumultuous backdrop that has included unprecedented turmoil inside Iran following its controversial June elections, as well as recent revelations of a secret facility at Qom. While conservatives have been using the same old talking points, beating the war drums, calling for regime change, and treating the talks as if anything less than the complete disappearance of Iran’s nuclear program will be a failure, the Obama administration has harbored no such illusions. Negotiations will not be easy. Iran’s internal instability, coupled with its duplicity over the nuclear issue means that the meeting in Geneva will likely be a starting point for hard-nosed diplomacy.
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Iran

Odious Ravings Don’t Detract From Need to Engage Iran

Report 23 September 2009
Today, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak to the United Nations General Assembly. He will make predictably odious statements, and they will be seized upon by conservatives in the U.S. as evidence that the U.S. should abandon its policy of engaging the Iranian regime. These critics should be ignored. Conservatives who argue for abandoning engagement are stuck in the failed policies of the past: unilateral and unrealistic sanctions, useless saber-rattling, and wild notions of regime change. This stance defies the opinions of top military leaders and leading Iran experts. While the U.S. must be ready to deploy internationally backed pressure if needed, the best means forward with Iran is to stay committed to the policy of engagement.
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Iran

Talking with Iran

Report 15 September 2009
After a tumultuous 6-month period which included unprecedented attempts at engagement by the Obama administration as well as a deeply flawed Presidential election, Iran has finally agreed to sit down for talks with the P5 + 1 group, representing 6 global powers. The initial talks, scheduled for October 1, will not be easy. Iran’s ongoing internal instability has already complicated U.S. policy, and the document put forward by Iranian negotiators contains only oblique references to the nuclear issue, considered a central U.S. concern. For these reasons, the meeting is likely to be a starting point for negotiations between Iran and the international community.
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Iran

Administration Continues Steady Hand with Iran

Report 8 September 2009
The Obama administration set the end of September as a deadline for Iran to accept talks over its nuclear program or face greater sanctions. The lessons of the last eight years make it clear that Iran can withstand unilateral US sanctions and maneuvers --only a unified international community can have an effect.  Engagement remains the best way of forcing a decision from the regime – either move in a new direction offered by the Obama administration or face consequences from a united international community.The Obama administration set the end of September as a deadline for Iran to accept talks over its nuclear program or face greater sanctions. The lessons of the last eight years make it clear that Iran can withstand unilateral US sanctions and maneuvers --only a unified international community can have an effect.  Engagement remains the best way of forcing a decision from the regime – either move in a new direction offered by the Obama administration or face consequences from a united international community.   
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Iran

September is Decision Time for Iran

Report 28 August 2009
The inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second presidential term earlier this monthhas not dissipated discontent with the regime or ended political turmoil. Political and religious leaders have organized behind the scenes and opposition leaders continue to make explosive allegations against the government.
This coming month, the fractious regime will be pushed back into the international spotlight. A clogged September calendar will see Iran dominate the agenda of international meetings in Frankfurt, Vienna, Pittsburgh, and New York. Despite Iran’s political uncertainty, engagement remains the best way of forcing a decision from the regime – either move in a new direction offered by the Obama administration or face consequences from a united international community. 
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Iran

Iran Turmoil Continues

Report 4 August 2009
Yesterday the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei formally approved Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the next president of Iran. However, the political situation is hardly settled. The security state appears firmly entrenched; yet a violent crackdown and show trials have not stopped demonstrations or rifts within Iranian political elites. Ahmadinejad is due to be sworn in on Wednesday and sizeable demonstrations are expected.
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