The George W. Bush Administration
Stephen J. Hadley
- The Bush administration’s engagement with Iran began positively. The two nations worked together to form a new Afghan government after the 2001 ouster of the Taliban.
- But efforts to cooperate on Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow foundered. Iran increasingly provided training, weapons and support to terrorists and insurgents, first in Iraq and later in Afghanistan.
- U.S. and international concern about Tehran’s nuclear activity increased dramatically in 2002, when an exile group revealed that Iran had secretly built a facility in Natanz capable of enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons as well as civilian nuclear power reactors.
- After Iran reneged on an agreement to suspend uranium enrichment in 2005, the White House backed an international campaign offering Iran a choice: aid and engagement or economic pressure. Tehran balked.
- As part of its “freedom agenda,” the administration supported greater political opening in Iran through presidential speeches, Persian language broadcasts and aid to civil society groups.
- The Bush administration added to the long history of attempted engagement with Iran, having some initial success, but growing disillusioned over time as Iran failed to respond positively.
- The administration left behind a robust international framework for coordinating incentives to encourage positive behavior from the Iranian regime, as well as diplomatic and economic pressure if it failed to comply with U.N. resolutions.
- The administration developed a new set of tools to exert economic pressure by cutting off Iran from the international financial system and persuading multinational businesses to sever ties with the regime.
- The administration enhanced the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, encouraged and facilitated increased defense cooperation among Arab allies—on air defense, missile defense and in other areas—and worked to enhance the defense capabilities of individual friends and allies.
- As the Bush administration left office, there was increasing debate within Iran about the wisdom of the regime’s foreign policy, its economic performance and the lack of political freedom.
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"The Iran Primer"--Book Overview
The world’s most comprehensive website on Iran, “The Primer” brings together 50 experts—Western and Iranian—in concise chapters on politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and the nuclear program. It chronicles events under six U.S. presidents. It also has leader bios, timelines, data on nuclear sites—and context for what lies ahead. Click here for a hardcopy. New articles are added at the top.