The Bush administration has signaled a new strategy aimed at engaging ordinary Iranians at a time of heightened concern over the aims of their nuclear program. A new U.S. initiative embraces the “soft power” approach of broadcasts and cultural exchanges to try to boost democracy forces inside Iran.
Iran's decision to restart uranium enrichment raised the nuclear stakes again this week as conflicting statements from Tehran on its willingness to remain bound by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty raised new questions.
With international diplomacy fixed on Iran's nuclear ambitions, Israel's nuclear arsenal has been drawn into the debate. Tensions between Iran and Israel are complicating efforts to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.
Amid intensifying diplomacy in the Iranian nuclear crisis, there are doubts about the capacity of the international community to influence Tehran's actions. The transfer of the issue to the UN Security Council may not offer much hope for defusing the situation, some experts say.
The IAEA debates whether to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear program. President Bush says the world must not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country will never give up its right to nuclear energy.
The five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council have agreed to refer the case of Iran's nuclear program to the Council. Yet experts see little likelihood of this apparent breakthrough leading to real, sustained pressure on Iran to make its nuclear activities more transparent.
Key states are coalescing behind the Russian proposal to enrich uranium fuel from Iran as the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency prepares to meet in a special session on the issue. But Iran's response has been mixed and support for coercive measures against Tehran is uncertain.
Iran's nuclear gambit rumbles on, with an emergency meeting of the IAEA now scheduled for February 2. Efforts by Tehran to avoid referral to the UN Security Council are being rebuffed by Europe and the United States, who meanwhile are seeking to assure a nervous Russia that no confrontation is imminent.
Hope springs eternal when it comes to human rights in Iran. The election in 2013 of President Hassan Rouhani, who replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was supposed to bring improvement. The purported victory of moderates in the recent legislative and Islamic clerics’ Assembly of Experts elections was believed to be a positive development.
The Islamic Republic is about to hold its first elections since an international agreement was reached over its nuclear program. At stake, in theory at least, is control of parliament and the Assembly of Experts.
Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht Weekly Standard
The recent hostages-for-criminals exchange with Iran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s willingness to concede American red lines, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A permissive and passive diplomatic doctrine only serves to weaken American values and strengthen the resolve of its enemies.
Authors: Max Boot and Michael Pregent Washington Post
President Obama, fresh off the implementation of the nuclear accord and a prisoner swap, may want to believe that Iran is, as he suggested to NPR a year ago while discussing what it would take to get a deal done, now on its way to becoming “a very successful regional power” that will abide “by international norms and international rules.”
In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.
The Saudi establishment’s misconceptions about the relationship between their Shiite community and Iran is proving dangerous, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Denigrating Shias as heretics will only inflame their grievances and radicalize the political culture of the region.
Remember the Iran nuclear deal, source of so much anxiety just one month ago? While much of the world watched in horror at the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, Iran began dismantling its centrifuges. But short-term compliance with the deal isn’t as important as what happens when it expires in 10 years.
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