I’ve written a couple of things at LobeLog recently that I neglected to link here for people who are interested. Both are reports on recent discussions in DC about the Iran deal and its impacts.
For example, on September 8 I attended an event held by the Arms Control Association and featuring an address by Colin Kahl, Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor. Since the Congressional debate about the deal was still going on at that point (in fact Congress just got back into session that day after the August recess), the event focused on refuting the arguments against the deal. For example, there’s the omnipresent “better deal” canard, which was the subject of my piece:
Those in and out of Congress who are working to reject or otherwise scuttle the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) insist that their goal in opposing the nuclear accord isn’t war with Iran. Rather, they say that they want to see the U.S. and its partners negotiate a “better” deal with Tehran. How much of this argument is sincere and how much is designed to ward off accusations of warmongering is anybody’s guess, though occasionally you do see signs of cracks in the façade. But even if you take the “better deal” crowd at its word, their arguments are not only wildly out of touch with reality but potentially dangerous to America’s standing around the world.
Then on September 14 I watched (from home, because I am much better at nabbing quotes when I’m not desperately trying to scribble them down with a pen and paper) a forum held by the Atlantic Council, featuring Iranian political scientist Nasser Hadian. In a paper just released that day by the AC, which was the subject of the forum, Hadian argues that there’s a debate going on inside Iran between those who are more or less isolationist and those who believe Iran needs to play a role in “stabilizing” the region. I’m not sure how much I’m buying his argument, but it’s an interesting one to consider anyway:
This second faction, Hadian writes, believes that Iran’s regional interests can be served by defending only core Shiʿa and Alawite areas of Syria and Iraq while giving up any fight against the Islamic State in majority Sunni regions. Though the “pro-stabilization” ideology is driving Iranian foreign policy at the moment, Hadian explains that certain signs—the Iraqi government’s lack of urgency to retake Mosul, Assad’s recent decision to pull his forces back from much of Syria—indicate that the minimalist ideology is gaining ground.
Hadian’s paper does not identify any specific Iranian political figures in either camp, but in an interview with Al-Monitor’s Barbara Slavin he did say that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif belong to the “pro-stabilization” faction.
Please click those links and read them! Thanks!
Hey, thanks for reading! If you come here often, and you like what I do, would you please consider contributing something (sorry, that page is a work in progress) to keeping this place running and me out of debtor’s prison? Thank you!