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Symposium on Iran and Policy Options for the Next Administration: Session Three: Policy Options and Recommendations for the Next Administration (Audio)

Speakers: Vali R. Nasr, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
September 5, 2008

Unlike George W. Bush, whose administration focused exclusively on containing Iran's nuclear program, the next U.S. president should broaden its bilateral relations with Tehran to include talks on sanctions, regional stability, and energy security, experts said during the third session of a CFR symposium on U.S. policy toward Iran. "Iran can go down two roads: Japan of the 1930s, or the road of India, " said Vali R. Nasr, Council on Foreign Relations adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies. "Part of the use of aggressive diplomacy should be to interject ourselves into that debate, to have a say in which way they go," Nasr said. The need for a reversal in strategy toward Iran is evidenced in the Bush administration's flawed strategy of containment, the speakers said. Ray Takeyh, a Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, said the approach has left no regional Arab consensus on how to handle Iran, and attempting to craft a containment strategy similar to the one employed against the Soviets during the Cold War "is not practical. " The isolation approach has forced Tehran into closer ties with Europe and Asia, and especially China and Russia. "Iran is not a country that is isolated like North Korea," Takeyh said. "We might not have the keys to" isolate Iran with sanctions or economic pressure.

This was part of the Symposium on Iran and Policy Options for the Next Administration, which was made possible through the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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