Latest News & Updates

March 27, 2018

Today, a bipartisan group of 118 American national security leaders issued a statement outlining ten reasons why President Trump should keep the Iran nuclear deal.

The signatories includes 49 retired flag officers of the U.S. military; 19 former members of Congress and 31 former U.S. ambassadors, including five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel. Prominent signatories include former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill; General Michael Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency and of the Central Intelligence Agency; General James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence; former Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, authors of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to dismantle Soviet nuclear arsenals; former Senator Tom Daschle, Senate Majority Leader; Senator Carl Levin, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Lee Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee; Admiral Eric Olson, former Commander of Special Operations Forces; Admiral William Fallon, former Commander of U.S. Central Command; and General Chuck Boyd, former Deputy Commander in Chief of U.S. European Command. “President Trump should maintain the U.S. commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. Doing so will bring substantial benefits and strengthen America’s hand in dealing with North Korea, as well as Iran, and help maintain the reliability of America’s word and influence as a world leader. Ditching it would serve no national security purpose,” the signatories write.

Iran will be prevented from moving toward a nuclear weapon for the duration of the agreement, they argue. And importantly, “If there is no follow-on agreement that maintains constraints on Iran and if Iran should move toward acquiring a nuclear weapon, nothing prevents the U.S. from taking action”. Maintaining the agreement preserves U.S. relations with major European allies, who all oppose U.S. withdrawal and provides opportunities to decrease tensions in the region, they add. “The U.S. should not cede to Russia, Iran, or others, control over political settlements in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq,” the authors conclude. “There are no military solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East.”

The statement was organized by the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon, a new nonpartisan network of organizations and individuals founded on the principle that U.S. policy on the Iran nuclear agreement should be determined by U.S. national security interests and not by domestic ideological or partisan differences.

Full text of the document can be found here.

The Iran Project has published numerous articles, op-eds, and maintained regular contact with journalists and columnists in major media outlets across the country on issues pertaining to Iran.  Due to increased public engagement, The Iran Project has created this website to make it easier for you to follow us in the news and leave us your comments. Stay updated on our news and events by joining our mailing list.

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Meeting threats and challenges to U.S. national security: Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering in the Tampa Bay Times

The United States today faces major challenges to its national security — long-term with Russia and China and immediately with regard to North Korea and Iran. Iran, in particular, can serve as a model for turning these grave challenges into constructive approaches and opportunities.

Why is Iran a threat to the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East and what is the United States doing about it? The danger of Iran getting a nuclear weapon is a serious concern for the United States and the world. Yet President Donald Trump has indicated that he may kill the very international accord that would prevent Iran from getting one. Such American action would re-open the door to an Iranian nuclear bomb and put the United States in violation of an international pact.

Read the full piece here.

Managing Iran’s Growing Regional Influence

The Iran Project has issued a one page brief on Managing Iran’s Growing Regional Influence that outlines the reasons for Iran’s growing influence in the region and recommends constructive policies toward Iran looking ahead. The Administration is expected to announce next week a new approach to the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) possibly announcing a decision not to certify Iran’s compliance. It is reported that the Administration in the coming weeks will set new policy guidelines for dealing with Iran.

This short briefing paper sets out four simple realities: no conflict in the Middle East can be resolved without Iran’s participation; no conflict can be resolved by military force alone; the U.S. needs the cooperation of other states to constrain Iran and ensure its participation in conflict resolution; and Iran must be prevented from getting a nuclear weapon.

Full text of the document can be found here.

Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering and William Luers: U.S. must be wary in choosing sides, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is playing a high stakes game in his ongoing conflict with Iran. It could threaten to embroil the U.S.

Read the full piece here.

Thomas Pickering speaks with Larry Mantle about the Iran nuclear deal on “AirTalk”

On October 25th, Larry Mantle spoke with Ambassador Thomas Pickering about next steps on the Iran nuclear deal and what the decertification might mean, not just for the U.S., but in Pyongyang and Beijing as we also attempt to temper North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

Listen here.

Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The United States should stand by the Iran deal

President Donald Trump has taken the first step toward pulling the United States out of the international agreement that is preventing the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

With no factual basis, this decision looms like pure domestic politics over America’s international commitments and leadership. Trust is the coin of the realm in foreign affairs, and we have just begun to debase it in the eyes of much of the world. Who will make a deal with us if we can confect a reason out of thin air to pull out of our agreements? U.S. leadership is imperiled, especially in dealing with Iran and North Korea.

Read the full piece here.

Richard Nephew at the World Affairs Forum of Stamford, Connecticut, October 25th

Jessica Mathews at Chicago Council on Global Affairs, October 30th

Op-Ed: Why the Iran nuclear deal benefits the U.S.

In July 2015, the United States, in partnership with China and Russia and our three major NATO allies, reached an agreement with Iran that prevents Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In exchange, we joined the international community in easing some economic sanctions against Iran while retaining many others linked to other aspects of Iran’s misbehavior.

View the full article here.

Risks of Restoring Heavy Sanctions Against Iran

The Iran Project has issued a one page brief on the Risks of Restoring Heavy Sanctions Against Iran – a decision that the Trump Administration may leave up to Congress, should the President choose to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement by the October 15 deadline.

Full text of the document can be found here.

Consequences of not Certifying Iran’s Compliance with the JCPOA

The Iran Project has issued a one page brief on the Consequences of not Certifying Iran’s Compliance with the JCPOA – a decision that President Trump will face by October 15, 2017. If he decides to not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, Congress will then have 60 days to consider reimposing sanctions on an expedited timeline that could end the U.S. commitment to the agreement, or they could decide not to act indefinitely.

Full text of the document can be found here.

47 National Security Leaders Propose a Comprehensive Policy to Constrain Iran

47 national security leaders issued a statement warning against U.S. withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, as long as Iran is complying, and recommending a comprehensive policy toward Iran that furthers U.S. national security interests.

View the full statement here

NYT Op-Ed: Before you rip up that Iran Deal…

Opponents of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal often complain that the deal doesn’t address the nefarious ways in which Iran is expanding its influence and further destabilizing the Middle East. Such concerns, while valid, are no reason to blow up the agreement, as President Trump is recklessly trying to do by pressing his administration to declare, with absolutely no evidence, that Iran is in violation of the terms.

View the full Op-Ed here.

Op-Ed: Take It from 3 Former Ambassadors: Neglecting Diplomacy Will Hurt America

The Trump administration’s budgetary proposals and decisions reflect a growing gap between strong support for increased military action and capability, and a significant reduction in budgetary support for diplomacy. Military force alone cannot secure America’s national-security objectives; they can only be met through a solid fusion of force and diplomacy.

View the full piece here.

US, Iran, Saudi Arabia: A New Diplomatic Calculus?

On June 27th, The Iran Project and World Affairs Council of Northern California organized a discussion with Banafsheh Keynoush, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, and Ambassador Hossein Mousavian. Watch the discussion here, focused on the US – Iran – Saudi Arabia nexus and whether we are destined for renewed diplomacy or conflict in the Middle East.

Short Briefing Paper from The Iran Project on Iran’s Missile Testing

The Iran Project has compiled a “Short Briefing Paper on Iran’s Missile Testing” for the purpose of trying to provide balanced and objective information on the complex political and technical issues that are raised by the recent test of an Iranian ballistic missile.

View the briefing paper here.

Short Briefing Paper from The Iran Project on Designating the IRGC a Terrorist Organization

While the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization is being considered by Congress, The Iran Project has prepared a short briefing paper (attached) on the subject, which can also be found online here. The aim is to provide a balanced one page assessment of this important proposal.

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Ambassador Thomas Pickering sat down with David Plazas of “The Tennessean,” to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and topics of interest in global affairs.

Watch the full video here

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs with Ambassadors  Thomas Pickering and James F. Jeffrey: What Does the Iran Deal Means for Nuclear Nonproliferation?

Watch the full event here

 Atlantic Council and The Iran Project: The Progress and Problems of Iran Sanctions Relief

https://youtu.be/A-iqg93meaY

The Iran Project Statement on the Announcement of a Framework for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Read the full statement.

Envisioning a Deal with Iran

Former U.S. Diplomats Praise Iran Deal

More than 100 former American ambassadors wrote to President Obama on Thursday praising the nuclear deal reached with Iran this week as a “landmark agreement”

Read the full article.

Video: The Iran Project Launch of New Publication at the Woodrow Wilson Center

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/weighing-concerns-and-assurances-about-nuclear-deal-iran

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As an Iran Deal Nears, the Lobbying, Pro and Con, Intensifies

Amb. William Luers discusses the timeline for the Iran Nuclear Deal and its political implications.         Read the full article.

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Benghazi Investigator Pickering Attends Muslim Forum
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The Iran Deal: What 18 Tense Months have Produced – and Now, 68 Tense Days

Ambassador William Luers and and Jeremy Shapiro, fellow at the Brookings Institution, discuss the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, at The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College on April 23.

An Iran Nuclear Deal is There for the Taking

Amb. William Luers, Amb. Thomas Pickering, and Dr. Jim Walsh publish a new op-ed in The National Interest on the most recent round of talks and remaining challenges in this final phase of diplomacy. Read the full article.

NYTimes Roger Cohen Pens Op-Ed on Nuclear Deal with Iran, ‘the Thinkable Ally’

Obama’s war against ISIS makes war with Iran even more unthinkable. A nuclear deal is imperative. Read the full article.

The Washington Post: How a Nuclear Deal can Help Save Iraq

The Iran Project’s Ryan Crocker, William Luers, and Thomas Pickering discuss the U.S. and Iran’s shared interests in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the long-term impact of a breakdown in talks. Read the Op-Ed

What’s the Way Forward with Iran? The Iran Project’s Jessica Tuchman Mathews Talks to NPR

It has been months since President Obama announced an interim deal had been struck between the group known as P5+1 and Iranian leadership over Iran’s nuclear program. Many open questions remain as the deliberations move forward and the details of the agreement emerge. How will this play out? Dr. Jessica Tuchman Mathews, distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, speaks with NPR. Listen to the full interview

Amb. Thomas Pickering’s Testifies before the House Armed Services Committee | 6.19.2014

As nuclear negotiations proceed between Iran and world powers, the Iran Project’s Ambassador Thomas Pickering testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the shift in the US-Iran relationship and how a possible comprehensive agreement can impact US strategy in the region. Read the Testimony | Watch the Video

Former American Diplomats lead the Iran Project, Featured in Al-Monitor

William Luers, Director of The Iran Project, has spent nearly 12 years together with Thomas Pickering, Frank Wisner, Stephen Heintz, Jim Walsh and others pursuing a strategy to bring American and Iranian officials and scholars together. They have authored articles and several reports analyzing prospects for better US-Iran relations including the latest report by the Iran Project that foresees enhanced opportunities for the United States and Iran to pursue cooperation on mutual concerns such as fighting Islamic State militants, stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, if there is a long-term nuclear accord. Read the full article.

More Articles & Op-Eds

The Iran Project has published numerous articles and op-eds in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the National Interest, the New York Review of Books. Read all Iran Project articles and op-eds.

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