In this 'Iran Chat' interview with Richard Nephew, the former lead sanctions expert for the US team negotiating with Iran, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari discusses a host of issues concerning US-Iran relations, including the implementation of the nuclear accord, the recent changes to the visa waiver program, and how post-sanctions era Iran will affect global energy prices.Read More
The new visa waiver restrictions are complicated and can be confusing to understand. Fortunately, AIC's Kayvon Afshari breaks it down by interviewing a lawyer from the ACLU, a former American nuclear negotiator, and an Iranian-German dual citizen who was recently affected by the law. Watch the video, then share it with your friends who need to learn about the issue!Read More
I was quoted in a Reuters report on the state of US-Iran relations, in the wake of the prisoner exchange, the dutiful implementation of the nuclear accord, and the swift resolution of the naval incident. Read the full article.
I discussed the visa waiver issue ("HR158") on Brooklyn's BRICTV, a newly-launched community television station in Brooklyn. I argued that the addition of Iran in the law is both discriminatory and fails to improve national security.
I elaborated on the reason that I'm personally opposed to the law.
"Sometimes people say that this law just produces a small inconvenience, and that you should just apply for a visa. However, to me it's not about the inconvenience. I'm affronted by the implication of the law," I said. "And the implication is this: that I, because I am an Iranian-American dual citizen and have traveled to Iran, just may perhaps be a terrorist."
That's a bad precedent to set.Read More
I'll be discussing the visa waiver issue ("HR158") on Brooklyn's BRICTV on Tuesday January 12th. It's certainly complicated legislation and the effects of it, both directly in terms of travel rights and indirectly in terms of international relations, have yet to be seen. I hope to dissect it and provide a balanced, intellectually honest assessment of the complex law. I also hope to drop a few f-bombs on camera.
As part of my work for the American Iranian Council, I recently moderated a discussion with Ambassador Dennis Ross and Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi on the topic of countering ISIS and Islamist extremism. The event was hosted at Marymount Manhattan College and is part of a series of events we're co-organizing with the college. I'm looking forward to more thoughtful and fruitful events with them.Read More
I moderated a panel discussion on the Iran nuclear accord featuring Amb. William Luers, Prof. Patricia DeGennaro, and Mr. Jack Hayes. The event was co-organized by the American Iranian Council and Marymount Manhattan College.
In this interview with HuffPost Live, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari discusses Senator Chuck Schumer's recent announcement that he will oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.
Afshari points out that Schumer makes maximalist demands of Iran, saying, "One of the demands that he makes is 'anytime, anywhere' access to any of Iran's non-nuclear, military facilities. Iran is not a defeated party here. Iran is not Imperial Japan, which had two atomic bombs dropped on it and is acceding to terms of surrender. Iran has been negotiating on this issue for a long time."Read More
Kayvon Afshari sat down with Alyona Minkovski on HuffPost Live to chat about Jon Stewart's final days at The Daily Show, his "secretive" meetings with President Obama, and his recent interview with Tomorrow Cruise.
I talked some more about the Iran nuclear deal with HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski.
I argued that,
1. the deal needs to be used as an opportunity to pivot toward broader US-Iran relations
2. attitudes in Iran need to dramatically shift in order to prepare the country for these broader talks with the US— a government which the Islamic Republic’s leaders have viewed suspiciously as “the Great Satan” for 36 years.
3. while none of the Israeli political parties support the deal, many strategic thinkers and former intelligence officials in Israel (Ephraim Halevy, Meir Dagan, Ami Ayalon, Amos Yadlin) have basically supported the deal, and that
4. the Obama administration used the recent Camp David summit with Arab leaders as a giant arms sale bonanza for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc.
In this interview with HuffPost Live, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari underscores the significance of a potential nuclear deal to the Obama administration, as well as the importance of the P5+1 countries and Iran having the same understanding of any final deal. He says, "I think that it's more important that they take the time now to deal with these really technical issues and achieve perfect clarity in the negotiations phase rather than walk away from it and have somewhat different interpretations in the implementation phase."
Afshari emphasizes the progress made in the form of Iran's concessions concerning its nuclear program, which go beyond the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Additional Protocol. He says, "The Iranians have made major concessions here. Iran, as a non-weapons signatory to the NPT, has the right to produce nuclear power for peaceful purposes." He adds that this progress owes to the Obama administration's willingness to shift from a policy of zero enrichment to limited enrichment, which helped the parties find common ground.
“What a successful nuclear deal would do is set a precedent whereby diplomatic engagement will have peacefully resolved such a thorny 15 year old international issue. This is not just a deal about centrifuges and uranium enrichment this is about mistrust between the US and IR. there are huge issues that have separated these countries for the past 36 years. An honest inspection of this relationship has to conclude that the mistrust runs both ways and that both sides have harmed each other," he said.
I discussed the ongoing nuclear negotiations with The Majority Report's Michael Brooks. I argued that there is a serious lack of intellectual honesty in the ongoing discourse in the United States, and explained the domestic politics in Iran over the issue.Read More
In my interview with HuffPost Live, I stressed the importance of having an "intellectually honest" discussion on the nuclear negotiations and argued that Iran has made significant concessions. It got heated at a few points, but by sticking to the facts, I made my point more clearly than the detractors.Read More
Kayvon Afshari sits down with Another Thing's Larry Mendte, to discuss the Iran nuclear negotiations, which faces staunch opposition domestically both in the U.S. and Iran.
Despite harsh realities, Afshari remains optimistic that a nuclear agreement will be reached. Afshari stressed that, "The Obama administration has expended a great deal of political capital on the negotiations and along with the high stakes implications involved, the administration needs a win.Read More
Originally published by the American Iranian Council
By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks
Now that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a bill to give Congress oversight over a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration would be wise to devise a strategy to turn Congressional review to its political advantage. Despite the ‘anti-Iran-deal’ money generously provided by big name donors, there are key vulnerabilities that the administration can exploit to put the pressure on both Democratic and Republican Senators who will be struggling to decide whether to vote up or down on a deal. Here’s what the political landscape looks like, what the Obama administration is already doing, and how we think they should play it in the months to comeRead More
Originally Published in The Middle East Eye
By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, anti-American rhetoric has appeared frequently in Iranian politics. That rhetoric flared up again at the Supreme Leader’s recent speech in his home city of Mashhad. With the deadline for a political framework for a nuclear deal fast approaching, some have argued that Iranian chants of “Death to America” at that speech and elsewhere should delegitimise the negotiations.
While the rhetoric isn’t helpful from an American perspective, its presence is counterintuitively a good sign for a diplomatic resolution. Look forward to hearing more provocative language from Iran’s Supreme Leader, and possibly even from the generally soft-spoken President Rouhani, from now until the ink dries on a potential comprehensive deal.
This is due to the fact that for Iran to make pragmatic nuclear concessions to the US and its P5+1 partners, the Islamic Republic’s leaders must reconcile their revolutionary anti-Americanism with their unprecedented public diplomatic engagement with the US. In order to best understand this tension, one must consider the ideological foundations of the Islamic Republic, the history of US intervention in Iran, as well as the international and economic pressure empowering Iran’s pragmatic politicsRead More
By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks
The fallout from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress on the nuclear negotiations with Iran poses an important question: is there a long-term structural fissure between the US and Israel, or is this simply a personality conflict between Obama and Netanyahu?
With the Israeli elections coming up on 17 March, the answer is particularly important, as it indicates whether a change in leadership can resolve a potential structural fissure, or if it will simply mask over those deep policy differences with more welcoming handshakes and cosmetic smiles.
Obama and Netanyahu certainly do not get along well, indicating that, at the very least, there is a real conflict between leaders. However, this personality conflict has metastasised to the extent that it has laid bare the significant policy disagreements on Iran’s nuclear programme and, to a lesser extent, the Palestinian issue.
This public rift between the US and Israel likely cannot be resolved by a new Israeli prime minister, as Netanyahu’s opponents, if elected, are unlikely to implement significantly differing policies from those of the Likud leaderRead More
Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, former spokesman for the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, discusses US-Iran relations and the nuclear issue in this exclusive Iran Chat interview. He says that he does not believe the nuclear issue is really about centrifuges, but rather about the hostility between the two countries. While he says that the mistrust is mutual, he argues that Iranians have more reasons to be mistrustful of the United States than vice versa.