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UN Report: Human Rights Concerns in Iran

Iran failed to address key human rights issues in 2014, according to a new report from the U.N. Office of the Secretary General to the U.N. Human Rights Council. At least 500 people were executed between January and November 2014, many of whom were not given a fair trial. The report also highlighted Iran’s treatment of religious and ethnic minorities, citing the destruction of a Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz by the Revolutionary Guards. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized the report for having “double standards.” The following are excerpts from the full report.

Death penalty
 
The Secretary-General continues to express his alarm at the increasing number of death sentences handed down and executions carried out in the Islamic Republic of Iran. United Nations human rights mechanisms have repeatedly and consistently expressed their great concern at this persistent trend, and have urged the Government to end executions. A total of 41 of the 291 recommendations made to the Islamic Republic of Iran during its second cycle of universal periodic review concerned the death penalty (A/HRC/28/12).
 
On 28 October 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights publicly expressed serious concern at the large number of executions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and called upon the authorities to immediately institute a moratorium on the death penalty. At least 500 people are believed to have been executed from January to November of 2014, with some sources suggesting a considerably higher number.
 
Situation of women
 
The Secretary-General welcomes the gains made in higher education and health for women, as well as the efforts to integrate women in the socioeconomic sphere. Some of the positive steps taken include the establishment of a foundation for entrepreneurial development of women and cooperatives to alleviate poverty and female groups that assist female heads of households and provide self-employment loans and grants to women (see A/C.3/69/9, annex). In their comments on the present report, the Iranian authorities pointed out that measures to promote the political and socioeconomic status of women had been taken. They included the appointment of women affairs advisers to all ministries and governmental organizations, the establishment of a women and children’s rights protection centre in the judiciary, the appointment of female advisers to family courts, legislative reforms that promote the status of women and the creation of special funds in the Ministry of Justice for female victims of violence.
 
Despite the above-mentioned achievements, women only account for 16 per cent of the labour force (A/69/356, para. 64). According to the Global Gender Gap Index for 2014 of the World Economic Forum, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranked no. 137 out of 142 countries. Furthermore, men earn 4.8 times more than women (A/69/356, para. 67). With regard to women in ministerial positions, the Index ranked the Islamic Republic of Iran no. 105 out of 142 countries, and there are few women in managerial or decision-making roles (A/69/356, para. 69) – despite the emphasis that article 3 of the Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities in the Islamic Republic of Iran places on the right of women to equal wages, privileges and work conditions. The draft comprehensive population and family excellence plan, reportedly currently being considered by parliament, would further restrict the participation of women in the labour force. Preference for employment opportunities would be given, in order, to men with children, men without children, then lastly to women with children. Furthermore, teaching positions in higher education and research institutions would be reserved for qualified married applicants (A/69/356, para. 70).
 
Freedom of expression
 
The continued crackdown on media professionals, the pervasive restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, including the closure of newspapers and magazines, and the ongoing monitoring, filtering and blocking of websites that carry political news and analysis raise great concern. Individuals who have expressed their views on social media or appeared in videos have been targeted and prosecuted. Some 5 million websites are currently blocked, and the Government is reportedly planning to implement “smart filtering”, which would further restrict content on the Internet (A/69/356, para. 22). The creation of a “national Internet”, announced in 2006, would further restrict users’ access to the global Internet. On 21 September, the Prosecutor General urged the Minister for Communication and Information Technology to immediately block messaging services such as Viber, Tango and WhatsApp, which, he claimed, were being used to disseminate derogatory remarks about the Supreme Leader. According to a report on the website of the news agency Khabaronline (www.khabaronline.ir), on 12 September the Head of the State cyber-police force warned that private messages on Viber and WhatsApp could be monitored and that persons circulating “insulting comments” about the Supreme Leader and other officials would be “dealt with” accordingly.
 
Freedom of assembly
 
On 31 October 2014, in his statement to the Human Rights Council, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani reported on the proactive role played by more than 17,000 civil society groups in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the promotion and protection of human rights. He also stated that more than 230 political parties, 400 trade unions and specialized associations, as well as 60 religiously affiliated societies, were active in the country.

Treatment of religious and ethnic minorities
 
The Secretary-General remains concerned at reports about the situation of religious and ethnic minorities, which continue to endure abuses and discrimination. The President and other high-profile officials have publicly pledged to ensure equality, to uphold freedom of belief and religion, to extend protection to all religious groups and to amend legislation that discriminates against minority groups. In their comments on the present report, the Iranian authorities pointed out that the Constitution provides equal rights to all and that no person is prosecuted on the basis of their affiliation to a particular religious or ethnic minority group.
 
Reports of incitement targeting the Baha’i faith and its adherents, and the destruction of sites of religious and cultural value, such as cemeteries, are of serious concern. In a press statement issued on 4 September 2014, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief urged the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to take urgent action to stop the destruction of a Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz by Revolutionary Guards. He stressed that attacks on Baha’i cemeteries were in violation of the freedom of religion or belief, because they were an essential part of how people exercise and manifest their right to freedom of religion or belief and their significance goes beyond their physical presence. In their comments on the present report, the Iranian authorities pointed out that burial in the cemetery had been banned since 1981 and that a substitute cemetery had been designated for Baha’is in Shiraz. They added that the destruction of the cemetery was based on public health reasons, not to denigrate the Baha’i faith.
 
Click here for the full report
 
Tags: Reports

Poll: Majority of Americans Back Nuke Deal

Americans broadly support direct negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, according to a new poll by CNN and ORC International. But they are split across party lines regarding the open letter to Iran’s leaders signed by 47 Republican senators. The letter warned that a nuclear deal signed during President Barack Obama’s tenure could be revoked by the next president or modified by a future Congress. The following are key results from the survey.

•68 percent of Americans support direct negotiations, including 77 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents
 
•29 percent oppose direct negotiations
 
• 49 percent say the letter sent by 47 Republican senators to Iran’s leaders went too far, including 67 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independents
 
•39 percent say the GOP letter was an appropriate response to the way negotiations were going, including 52 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of independents
 
• 18 percent think the GOP letter helped U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons while 32 percent think the letter hurt those efforts
 
• 44 percent say the letter had no impact on negotiations
 
The poll, conducted March 13-15, included phone interviews with 1,009 Americans.
Click here for more information.
 

The majority of Americans favor a potential nuclear deal with Iran, according to a new survey by Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull in the Program for Public Consultation and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. More than 60 percent of respondents support a deal that would limit Iran’s enrichment capacity and impose inspections in exchange for lifting some sanctions. The poll was conducted Feb. 19-25, 2015, with a sample of 710 adults.The following are excerpted key findings from the poll.

"In this survey a representative sample of Americans were presented the two primary options that have dominated this debate:
 
· For the US to continue to pursue an agreement that would accept some enrichment by Iran, but with substantial limits that would preclude Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and intrusive inspections to ensure those limits are met, in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.
 
· For the US to not accept any Iranian enrichment. Instead, the US would continue trying to get other nations to impose new economic sanctions in an effort to persuade Iran to cease enrichment completely.
 
While majorities found arguments for both options at least somewhat convincing, when asked to make their final recommendation, a clear majority of 61% recommended making a deal with Iran that would include a limited enrichment capacity for Iran. This included 61% of Republicans, 66% of Democrats and 54% of independents. The alternative of increasing sanctions in an effort to get Iran to stop all uranium enrichment was endorsed by 36%."
 
"Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all made this same judgment. Republicans chose continuing negotiations by 61 to 35%, while Democrats favored it by 66 to 32%. A relatively more modest majority of Independents favored a deal by 54 to 42%.
 
This response was essentially the same as when PPC took respondents through the exact same process and found 61% favored a deal and 35% favored pursuing sanctions. Partisan variations were not significantly different. In the current survey, among the 9% of the sample who identified themselves as very sympathetic to the Tea Party, a plurality of 46% favored pursuing a deal with 41% opposed. Those somewhat sympathetic to the Tea Party were no different from the sample as a whole.
 
Among those who watch Fox News daily (13% of sample) views were divided, rising to 55% in favor of a deal for those who watch it 2-3 times a week. There was no significant effect for watching MSNBC.
 
The strongest effect was among those who watch a Christian news network at least 2-3 times a week or more. Among this group only 26% favored a deal while 58% favored pursuing sanctions.
 
Respondents were also asked what they thought the effect of making a deal would have on the fight against the Islamic State. A majority of 63% said it would make no difference, but more (23%) said it would help, than said it would hurt (13%). Partisan differences were insignificant.
 
Click here for the full report
 
Tags: Reports

Senators Seek Congressional Review of Any Nuclear Deal with Iran

On February 27, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a bill that would require the president to submit the text of an Iran nuclear deal to Congress for review. The act would also prohibit the Obama administration from suspending congressional sanctions on the Islamic Republic for 60 days.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, said that the bipartisan legislation a “creates a responsible review process that will allow Congress the opportunity to approve or disapprove the agreement before the administration could attempt to remove these sanctions.”
 
But the administration has threatened to veto any new legislation on Iran while negotiations are underway. "The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told ABC News. "If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it." Corker said the White House reaction was “disappointing.”
 
The following are excerpts from a press release on “The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015” with a link to the full text.
 
“There are few national security priorities for our country more important than preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and any agreement that seeks to do this must include Congress having a say on the front end. Allowing Congress to play its critical and historic role of reviewing international agreements will help, not hinder, these negotiations by ensuring any comprehensive agreement is verifiable and will stand the test of time,” said Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It is important that we preserve the integrity of the congressional sanctions, so this bipartisan legislation creates a responsible review process that will allow Congress the opportunity to approve or disapprove the agreement before the administration could attempt to remove these sanctions.” 
 
“If a nuclear deal is reached, Congress will have an opportunity to review the agreement and more importantly, ensure its compliance after it goes into effect.  This legislation establishes that vital review and oversight process," said Menendez.
 
“The stakes of these negotiations with Iran are so important to our own national security that Congress should review and vote on any agreement before it becomes binding,” said Graham.  “It would be a blessing if the Obama Administration were to strike a good deal which controls the Iranian nuclear ambitions.  A bad deal however, will be a nightmare for the region, Israel, and own our long-term national security interests.”
 
“I am a strong supporter of President Obama's effort to find a diplomatic path to guarantee that Iran does not have the capacity to develop a nuclear weapon,” said Kaine, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “The interim deal reached by the P5+1 has been good for the United States – and the world – because it has rolled back the Iranian program and given us unprecedented inspection rights to make sure Iran is meeting its obligations. The content of any final deal is of great significance to the national security of the United States, our allies, and to international peace and stability. Iran is fully aware that its ultimate goal – elimination of statutory sanctions created by Congress – will require Congressional approval. 
 
But long before Congress considers that repeal, a deal with Iran will involve up-front relief from a sanctions regime that was approved by Congress and implemented by the Administration. I believe Congress should weigh in on the content of the deal given the centrality of the congressional sanctions to the entire negotiation and the significant security interests involved.  This legislation sets up a clear and constructive process for Congressional review of statutory sanctions relief under a standard that is appropriately deferential to the executive branch negotiating the deal. I wish the P5+1 negotiators well in this final phase of negotiation and hope to work with my colleagues to provide support for a  diplomatic deal that effectively ends Iran's nuclear ambitions.”
 
The legislation also is cosponsored by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Bill Nelson (D- Fla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Angus King (I-Maine).
 
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 contains the following key provisions:
  • Congressional Review: Within five days of concluding a comprehensive agreement with Iran, the president must submit to Congress (1) the text of the agreement, (2) a verification assessment on Iranian compliance, and (3) a certification that the agreement meets U.S. non-proliferation objectives and does not jeopardize U.S. national security, including not allowing Iran to pursue nuclear-related military activities.
  • No Suspension of Congressional Sanctions for 60 Days: The president is prohibited from suspending, waiving or otherwise reducing congressional sanctions for 60 days. During this period, Congress may hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on the agreement. Passage of a joint resolution of approval, or no action, within the 60-day period would allow the President to move forward with congressional sanctions relief. Passage of a joint resolution of disapproval (overriding a presidential veto) within the 60-day period would block the president from implementing congressional sanctions relief under the agreement.
  • Congressional Oversight and Iranian Compliance: After the congressional review period, the president would be required to assess Iran’s compliance with the agreement every 90 days. In the event the president cannot certify compliance, or if the president determines there has been a material breach of the agreement, Congress could vote, on an expedited basis, to restore sanctions that had been waived or suspended under the agreement.
 
Click herefor the full text of the bill.
 

Gallup: Iranians Hopeful for Nuclear Deal

Iranians are more optimistic that the ongoing nuclear talks will produce an agreement than they were in May 2013, according to a new Gallup poll. Around 70 percent of Iranians are at least "somewhat hopeful" a deal will be reached, compared to 58 percent in 2013. More than 1,000 Iranian adults were surveyed. The following are key findings from the poll.

As the Iranian negotiators meet next week with their international counterparts for another round of talks ahead of the June 2015 deadline for a final deal, residents of Iran remain cautiously optimistic about the eventual outcome and solidly support their country's national nuclear program. The Iranian leadership under President Hassan Rouhani has promised to improve average Iranians' economic lot. Achieving a nuclear deal with the Western powers will not be a panacea for Iran's economic woes, but the country is under pressure to try to strike a balance between attaining an international agreement on the one hand and maintaining Iranians' national pride in pursuing the nuclear program and securing economic prosperity on the other.

Although Iranians were only asked about the talks between the EU and Iran, there are also bilateral talks between the U.S. and Iran and talks between what is known as the P5+1 group: the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany. Because of the overlap of these conversations, Iranians might have been thinking of any combination of these groups when answering the question about "current talks."

Iranians' support for developing the country's nuclear program has continued to increase. Seventy-five percent of Iranians believe Iran should continue to develop its nuclear power capabilities, up from 68% in the previous survey.

Iranians, however, remain divided on the ultimate intention of the country's nuclear program. More than half of Iranians (56%) approve of Iran developing its own nuclear capabilities for non-military use. Support for developing such capabilities for military use is somewhat lower, with 42% of Iranians approving. Iranians' approval on each of these issues has not changed much since Gallup started asking these questions in 2011.

Click here for the full report
 

Tags: Reports

U.S. Media on Iran Deal

U.S. media outlets, experts, and former officials have voiced strong opinions on the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world's six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. The following is a rundown of op/eds on the nuclear talks by former U.S. officials and editorial boards from major U.S. newspapers.

Editorial Boards
 
The New York Times 
 
"Saving the Nuclear Deal With Iran"
 
“[T]he power to permanently lift most sanctions lies with Congress, where many members deeply mistrust Tehran, and Republican leaders have said that new and stronger sanctions are near the top of their to-do list in the new Congress. Such a move might be justified down the road if negotiations collapse, or if Iran cheats on its commitments. But at this stage it could easily undermine the talks, split the major powers and propel Iran to speed its nuclear development.”
   — Jan. 10, 2015, in the New York Times
 

"An Emerging Nuclear Deal With Iran"

“The nuclear threat has dominated Iran’s relations with the United States for more than a decade. If this can be resolved, the two countries may be able to tackle other differences, including Iran’s missile program and its growing involvement in regional conflicts. It won’t be easy, but it could open up space for cooperation.”
 
“The agreement must be judged on the complete package, not on any single provision. Even if the deal is not perfect, the greater risk could well be walking away and allowing Iran to continue its nuclear activities unfettered.
   — Feb. 25, 2015, in the New York Times
 
The Washington Post
 
"The emerging Iran nuclear deal raises major concerns"
 
“As the Obama administration pushes to complete a nuclear accord with Iran, numerous members of Congress, former secretaries of state and officials of allied governments are expressing concern about the contours of the emerging deal. Though we have long supported negotiations with Iran as well as the interim agreement the United States and its allies struck with Tehran, we share several of those concerns and believe they deserve more debate now — before negotiators present the world with a fait accompli.
 
The problems raised by authorities ranging from Henry Kissinger, the country’s most senior former secretary of state, to Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, Virginia’s junior senator, can be summed up in three points:

First, a process that began with the goal of eliminating Iran’s potential to produce nuclear weapons has evolved into a plan to tolerate and temporarily restrict that capability. 

Second, in the course of the negotiations, the Obama administration has declined to counter increasingly aggressive efforts by Iran to extend its influence across the Middle East and seems ready to concede Tehran a place as a regional power at the expense of Israel and other U.S. allies. 
 
Finally, the Obama administration is signaling that it will seek to implement any deal it strikes with Iran — including the suspension of sanctions that were originally imposed by Congress — without a vote by either chamber. Instead, an accord that would have far-reaching implications for nuclear proliferation and U.S. national security would be imposed unilaterally by a president with less than two years left in his term.
   — Feb. 5, 2015, in the Washington Post
 
The Los Angeles Times
 
"New Iran Sanctions? Not Now"
 
“Negotiating with Iran on a permanent agreement to ensure that it doesn't develop nuclear weapons is challenging enough. But the Obama administration simultaneously must deal with members of Congress who are determined to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic that could jeopardize not only the final agreement but also the interim deal reached in Geneva last month, in which Iran agreed to suspend progress on its nuclear program.”
   — Dec. 13, 2014, in the Los Angeles Times
 
Chicago Sun-Times
 
"Poke in the president’s eye is bad foreign policy"
 
“For Congress to threaten new sanctions during talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers profoundly handicaps the negotiators and gives Iran an excuse to walk away. The collapse of negotiations could easily lead to an armed conflict.
 
Meddling now in the negotiations — at the moment when a credible deal is possible — can’t amount to any good. And, most important, there is plenty of time to impose stiffer sanctions on Iran if negotiations fall apart.”
   — Jan. 22, 2015, in the Chicago Sun-Times
 
The Boston Globe
 
"Congress shouldn’t scuttle Iran nuclear talks with new sanctions"
 
“There’s no downside to letting these negotiations continue unhindered by new sanctions. In fact, one condition of the agreement is that no further sanctions be imposed. Meanwhile, the agreement does allow for new sanctions if Iran is found to be in breach. Add to this the distressed state of the Iranian economy and falling price of oil, and the United States is clearly bargaining from a position of strength. The US should not breach the 2013 agreement by imposing sanctions… with only two years left in the Obama presidency, a sanctions vote could send the wrong signals to Tehran, and put an agreement in jeopardy. If Iran backs out of talks now, the United States would be in a worse place than before negotiations began: Iran could resume its nuclear program, and the United States would be alienated from its allies.”
   — Jan. 22, 2015, in the Boston Globe
 
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member Bret Stephens
 
"The Obama administration likes to make much of the notion that Iran, starved by sanctions, is like a beggar at a banquet. If so, this beggar doesn’t settle for scraps. If Iran says no to a deal, Mr. Kerry will soon be back with a better offer. If it says yes, it will take what it’s given and, in good time, take some more.
 
Al Qaeda on a “path to defeat.” America “out of Iraq.” It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Mr. Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements."

   — Nov. 10, 2014, in the Wall Street Journal

Bloomberg View

"Leave aside for the moment the typical partisan debate and more high-minded questions over the respective roles of the legislative and executive branches. The central question here is whether the bill under discussion will increase the odds of a good nuclear deal with Iran. The answer is no.
 
"Of course Congress has the right (backed by ample historical precedents) to weigh in on the Iran negotiations, not to mention overseeing any agreement. But Obama doesn’t need Congress’s approval to conclude this deal, which is why the White House has rightly promised a veto.
 
"The Constitution gives the prerogative in the conduct of foreign policy to the executive branch. Although an international treaty can become binding on the U.S. only if the Senate provides its advice and consent to ratification by a two-thirds majority, the president has the power to conclude so-called executive agreements with other nations."

   — March 5, 2014, on Bloomberg View

Experts and Former U.S. Officials

 

William J. Perry, Sean O’Keefe, Adm. James Stavradis, and Joe R. Reeder

"Let’s Make a Deal with Iran"
 
“We are at a crucial moment. Unless our leaders set aside their domestic political differences and pull together to keep the Iranian nuclear negotiations on track, America may lose an important opportunity to enhance its security and influence world history for the better. 
 
“Let’s pull together and seek a diplomatic solution. If an agreement is reached, fully studied and deemed inadequate, there will be more than enough support for stronger measures. But none of those options will be as desirable or effective as an acceptable negotiated settlement. At that stage it will be near impossible to restart negotiations. If we’re ever likely to see an acceptable agreement, this is it. Let’s not let this perishable opportunity get away.”
  — Feb. 24, 2015, in Politico
 
William J. Perry is a former secretary of defense. Sean O'Keefe is a former secretary of the Navy and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Adm. James Stavridis (ret.) served as NATO's supreme commander. Joe R. Reeder is a former undersecretary of the Army.
 
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John H. Johns (ret.) and Angela Canterbury
 
"Avoid new sanctions now and keep Iran’s nuclear program in check"
 
“The bottom line is that Iran is significantly further away from a nuclear weapon today than it was one year ago. What’s more, these results reflect a surprising turnabout from the preceding decade in which Iran’s capabilities grew steadily while the major powers were divided on how to respond.”
 
“We must prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The best chance at doing so is to support the president’s challenging, but necessary, diplomatic talks that continue to make steady progress and yield verifiable results.”
  — Jan. 22, 2015, in The Hill
 
Johns serves on the Council for a Livable World Advisory Board and is a former deputy assistant defense secretary. Canterbury is the executive director of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Council for a Livable World and Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The views expressed are their own.
 
Paul R. Pillar
 
"Get over it: There’s no better deal coming on Iran’s nuclear program"
 
“Members of Congress who seem primed to oppose whatever agreement emerges from the negotiations usually base their opposition on the idea that rejecting the agreement would clear the way for a ‘better deal.’ That belief is a fantasy. 
 
“Members of Congress who oppose an agreement would, in effect, be casting a vote in favor of allowing Iran to run as many centrifuges as it wants; to accumulate unlimited stockpiles of enriched uranium, and to resume enrichment at the higher levels it has previously abandoned. It also would be a vote to remove additional international inspectors placed in Iran under the preliminary accords. 
 
Anyone who casts a vote with these effects will have a lot of explaining to do to constituents.
  — Feb. 25, 2015, in Reuters
 
Paul Pillar is a 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency

Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman, and Ray Takeyh
 
"Time to Take It to Iran"
 
"It is time to acknowledge that we need a revamped coercive strategy, one that threatens what the Islamic Republic values the most—its influence in the Middle East and its standing at home. And the pattern of concessions at the negotiating table must stop if there is to be an acceptable agreement. Iranian officials must come to understand that there will be no further concessions to reach an accord and that time is running out for negotiations."

The United States and Iran are destined to remain adversaries. It may be possible for enemies to negotiate an arms control compacts, but the path to such an accord will not come from additional concessions by the 5+1; if we want an acceptable deal at this stage, Iran’s leaders need to see they have more to lose than gain by not concluding one."
   — Jan. 23, 2015, in Politico
 
Dennis Ross is a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and served as a special assistant to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. Eric Edelman is a distinguished fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and served as undersecretary of defense during the George W. Bush administration. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
 
Nancy Soderberg and John Bradshaw
 
“Give Strategic Patience a Chance” 
 
“As negotiators jockey in Geneva to reach a framework agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons by the deadline, which comes at the end of March, hardliners in both Washington and Iran threaten to scuttle the deal. Calls for an arbitrary increase in tough sanctions from Washington and charges of bad faith from Iran indicate many want to squash almost any deal. It is important to recognize how these negotiations are in our deep national interests.”
 
“Certainly, all Americans want to see a final deal and an end to Iran’s shenanigans. What opponents of these negotiations fail to understand is that leadership sometimes requires the more complicated – and at times – frustrating path. History shows that strategic patience is often the wiser course. Ronald Reagan, for instance, spent his entire presidency negotiating with the evil empire ofthe Soviet Union. And America was safer for it. These negotiations with Iran do not indicate acceptance of Iran’s history of supporting terrorism, killing Americans and supporting enemies of Israel. But they do represent our best chance of ending Iran’s dangerous nuclear program and opposing those in Iran who continue to support it.”
  Feb. 26, 2015 in U.S. News and World Report
 
Ambassador Nancy Soderberg represented the U.S. at the U.N. and served as deputy national security advisor. John Bradshaw is the executive director of the National Security Network.
 
 

 

 

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