Tuesday, November 25, 2008

US Engagement with IRAN: A How to Guide

Carnegie's Karim Sadjadpour, here in the Middle East Progress, via Matt Yglesias. His list of "spoilers" seems dubiousely short! Short of one main ingredient: ISRAEL!
    1. "Build confidence on issues of common interest (rather than, say, opening with discussion of Israel or nuclear weapons). concentrate on areas of shared interest, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than those of little or no common interest, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the nuclear issue
    2. Understand where power lies (with the Supreme Leader). In practical terms the country’s most important institutions—the Revolutionary Guards, Guardian Council, presidency, and parliament—are currently led by individuals who were either directly appointed by Khamenei or unfailingly obsequious to him.
    3. Speak softly (rather than boasting about all options being on the table, or issuing threats to obliterate Iran). Instead of reciprocating threats and name calling, the next U.S. administration should project the dignity and poise of a
      superpower. A hostile rhetorical line allows Iran’s leadership to paint the United States as an aggressor
    4. Don’t let the spoilers set the tenor. both within Iran and among Iran’s Arab allies—have entrenched economic and political interests in preventing U.S.-Iranian reconciliation
    5. Maintain an international approach. A common approach by the European Union and the United States is absolutely imperative. Uniting China and Russia behind the U.S. position will prove more difficult given divergent national interests, though Moscow certainly has an interest in avoiding a nuclear-armed Iran within missile range.
    6. Get the Timing Right (i.e., save big steps for after Iran’s June 2009 presidential election).As such, it is better for Washington to begin with cautious, limited engagement with Tehran until June 2009, when Iran’s domestic situation will be clearer"

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