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.
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.
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
Robert Einhorn, former senior advisor to the US nuclear negotiating team, discusses the Iranian nuclear issue in this exclusive interview with the AIC's Kayvon Afshari. Mr. Einhorn says that, while existing sanctions have played an "important role" in bringing Iran to negotiate very seriously, new sanctions are not necessary at this time.
On an almost daily basis, American pundits and government officials warn of the consequences of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Iran and outline what the United States must do about it. Some argue for preventive action to fend off apocalypse, as President George W. Bush famously warned of a “Middle East under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.” Others temper this dystopia with reassurances that Iran, even with nuclear weapons, can be effectively contained and deterred from first strike. Neither of these scenarios captures the broader effects on US-Iran relations. In fact, Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability would have a stabilizing effect on US-Iran relations. The two states would move toward rapprochement because the benefits of normalization as well as the costs of non-normalization will become greater and more overt to both sides.
I conducted an interview with New York Times Columnist Roger Cohen on US-Iran relations.