Latest News and Updates
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 this year, 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.
Statement on Extension of Negotiations with Iran
A Nuclear Deal With Iran Is Within Reach – Additional Sanctions Risk Undermining The Talks
A bipartisan group of former senior officials, US ambassadors and military leaders, as well as other national security experts, has united to support an extension of negotiations with Iran as serving US national interests, and to encourage Congress to refrain from passing new sanctions now:
NEW YORK – We support the decision of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia to continue negotiations with Iran to achieve a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Only a negotiated settlement will bring about long term assurances that Iran’s nuclear program will be peaceful. Preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon must remain America’s goal.
These talks with Iran are the most complex and important negotiations since the end of the Cold War. The challenges have been significant: seven nations, each with a different agenda, have engaged around a table for over a year. The US and Iranian governments had not talked for 35 years and harbor profound distrust toward one another.
The technical, scientific, political and financial issues are unprecedented in their complexity and have required new approaches. Adding to the challenge is Iranian and American domestic opposition to the talks; this opposition has been compounded because some of America’s closest friends in the region, for particular reasons of their own, are actively against any deal with Iran. It is little wonder that the negotiations require time.
The extension of these negotiations will continue to advance US national security interests and those of our allies in the Middle East. Since the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) was agreed to on November 24, 2013, the world has become a safer place. Iran has stopped the most disturbing elements of its nuclear program: cessation of 20 percent enrichment and elimination of that stockpile; halted work on the still unfinished Arak heavy water reactor; set limits on the stockpiles of Low Enriched Uranium. Each of these actions had been major concerns of the US only a year ago. Moreover, Iran agreed to an inspection regime that provides more frequent access and monitoring to a larger number of facilities. The IAEA has daily access to Iran’s enrichment facilities, and it has assured the world that Iran is in full compliance with its commitments under the JPOA.
Congress will continue to have an important role to play going forward. Members of Congress will want to maintain oversight over the negotiations and receive regular classified briefings. They will also want to see progress. They should also be impressed by the professionalism, determination, and skill with which Secretary Kerry and his team have tenaciously pursued these negotiations. The American negotiators have demonstrated that they know what a good deal would look like.
For all these reasons, Congress should refrain from taking action such as introducing additional sanctions that risk undermining these critical negotiations. Such action could prompt Iran to resume aggressive expansion of its nuclear program, and lead either to a nuclear-armed Iran or to a war. The negotiations may yet fail, but then it would be time to act, not now. These negotiations are the best tool for advancing US national security and that of its allies.
|Amb. Morton Abramowitz||Hamid Biglari|
|Zbigniew Brzezinski||Amb. Nicholas Burns|
|Gen. James E. Cartwright||Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney|
|Joseph Cirincione||Amb. Ryan Crocker|
|Suzanne DiMaggio||Amb. James Dobbins|
|Robert Einhorn||Leslie Gelb|
|Rep. Lee Hamilton||Stephen B. Heintz|
|Carla A. Hills||Gen. Joseph Hoar|
|James Hoge||Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney|
|Amb. Daniel C. Kurtzer||Amb. Winston Lord|
|Amb. William H. Luers||Sen. Richard Lugar|
|Jessica T. Matthews||Amb. Richard T. McCormack|
|Amb. William G. Miller||Amb. Richard Murphy|
|Adm. Eric Olson||George Perkovich|
|Amb. Thomas Pickering||Paul Pillar|
|Amb. Nicholas Platt||William A. Reinsch|
|Amb. J. Stapleton Roy||Barnett Rubin|
|Rear Adm. Joe Sestak||Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft|
|Gary Sick||Anne-Marie Slaughter|
|Paul A. Volcker||James Walsh|
|John C. Whitehead||Col. Lawrence Wilkerson|
|Amb. Frank Wisner||Gen. Anthony Zinni|
The Iran Project is a bipartisan organization composed of national security leaders who support official talks with Iran to head off an Iranian nuclear weapon and improve US national security.
Thurs., Nov. 20, 5:30 pm
Implications of a Nuclear Agreement with Iran | RSVP
- BRIG. GEN. (RET.) UZI EILAM , Former Director of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and Former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense Mission to Europe
- DR. JIM WALSH, Nuclear proliferation expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program
- AMBASSADOR WILLIAM H. LUERS (moderator), Director of The Iran Project and former US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela
- Introduction by Century Foundation senior fellow MICHAEL WAHID HANNA.
Wed., Nov. 19, 4:00
Implications of a Nuclear Deal with Iran |RSVP
Please join The Iran Project and the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force for a discussion about the wide-ranging implications of a nuclear agreement with Iran. With the Nov. 24 deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program looming, the stakes for a deal between Iran and international community are high. Many in Israel and in the United States are concerned about the implications for Israel’s security of an agreement and whether it will verifiably prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Some members of Congress may also seek to vote on legislation imposing new sanctions on Iran if an agreement is not reached soon or if they are dissatisfied with the provisions of an agreement. The speakers will address these concerns. Our panel features
- The Hon. Thomas Pickering
Former US Ambassador to Israel and the United Nations; and Former US Undersecretary of State
- Brig. Gen. Uzi Eilam
Former Director of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and Former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense Mission to Europe
- Moderated by: The Hon. Stuart Eizenstat
Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Former US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
Read Our Latest Op-Ed: An Iran Nuclear Deal is There
for the Taking | 10.15.2014
William Luers, Thomas Pickering, and 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.
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.
Launch of the Iran Project’s Latest Report
Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement
The Middle East Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Iran Project are pleased to present a report launch on Wednesday, September 17th. The Iran Project’s new report, Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement, examines the potential shift in Iran’s relations with other countries in the Middle East after a comprehensive nuclear agreement is reached, and the implications of these changes for US foreign policy. It also examines seven countries in the region as well as other important elements to U.S. foreign policy such as U.S. military presence in the region, non-state actors including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),
and the energy.
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.
What’s the Way Forward with Iran? The Iran Project’s
Jessica Tuchman Matthews 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, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, speaks with NPR.
Listen to the full interview.
Iran Project Statement on Extension of Nuclear Talks with Iran | 7.19.2014
We support the decision of the Permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and Iran, to extend the nuclear talks for another 4 months in order to achieve an agreement that would severely restrict Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Secretary Kerry, in his announcement, summed up succinctly the reasons for the extension: “to turn our back prematurely on diplomatic efforts when significant progress has been made would deny ourselves the ability to achieve our objectives peacefully, and to maintain the international unity that we have built…the very real prospect of reaching a good agreement that achieves our objectives necessitates that we seek more time.”
We urge all parties to make every effort to reach an acceptable agreement as soon as possible. To this end, we also urge that Congress not take actions now that could cause the collapse of these negotiations such as imposition of new sanctions in violation of the Joint Plan of Action. We are encouraged by the sense of optimism implicit in the agreement to continue these talks. Success would represent a victory of America’s 35-year bipartisan policy toward Iran, be a triumph of America’s commitment to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and eliminate one of most serious potential threats to the security of our friends in the region.
Ryan Crocker, former Ambassador
Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
William Luers, former Ambassador
Thomas R. Pickering, former Ambassador
Paul Pillar, former Intelligence Officer
Jim Walsh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Frank G. Wisner, former Ambassador
Read the Iran Project’s Most Recent Op-Ed ‘How a Nuclear Deal
Could Help Save Iraq’ | 7.11.2014
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 full article
Watch Amb. Thomas Pickering’s Testimony to 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. Watch the Video
Our Articles & Op Eds
How a U.S. Nuclear Deal Could Help Save Iraq. The Washington Post. July 11, 2014
Worldview: Iran’s Choice for U.N. Ambassador Highlights Old Wounds. The Philadelphia Inquirer.
April 27, 2014
Iran: A Good Deal Now in Danger. NY Review of Books. February 2014 Issue.
A Delicate Dance with Iran. The Denver Post. January 12, 2014
Diplomatic Success Always Trumps a Military Victory. Financial Times. December 19, 2013.
Looking to Diplomacy with Iran. Reuters. October 14, 2013.
For a New Approach to Iran. The New York Review of Books. July 16, 2013.
A New Way Forward is now Possible with Iran. The Plain Dealer. September 13, 2013.
The Iran Project in the News
The Iran Project’s reports have received media coverage including, but not limited to:
Top Foreign Policy Experts Endorse Iran Nuclear Deal. Lobelog Foreign Policy, November 21, 2014.
Former US Diplomat Fosters US-Iran Ties Behind the Scenes. Al-Monitor, October 7, 2014
Iran, the Thinkable Ally. New York Times, October 2, 2014.
NGO speakers here push for Iran deal. The Jewish Chronicle, September 22, 2014.
Engaging Iran: Visitors to Pittsburgh bring message worth noting. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
September 11, 2014.
Odds on nuke deal with Iran? 50-50, Carnegie think tank expert says. Trib Live News,
September 9, 2014
What’s the Way Forward? Essential Pittsburgh, NPR Radio. September 9, 2014
Obama Shares Rouhani’s Challenge Selling Any Deal Reached. Bloomberg Business Week.
February 18, 2014
Report undermines US Iran sanctions push. AFP. February 18, 2014
Bipartisan Expert Group Says New Iran Sanctions will Undermine Diplomacy. Think Progress.
February 18, 2014
Iran Nuclear Talks Start With Doubt of Deal on Deadline. Bloomberg. February 17, 2014
Congress Did Its Part, Now Let the Diplomats Do Theirs. US News. February 5, 2014.
Fact Checking the Obama Strategy for Iran’s Nukes. US News. February 4, 2014.
Iran sanctions bill opposed by Obama gains Senate backers. Reuters. January 6, 2014
Security Experts Ask Senators To Pull Back Iran Sanctions Bill. Think Progress. January 6, 2014
Power or Persuasion: More Sanctions or Bombs for Iran? Defense One. December 16, 2013
If Sanctions Worked with Iran, will they work with ‘rogue’ nations? The Nation. November 27, 2013.
Obama and the Munich Katrinas The Daily Beast. November 26, 2013.
Deal Would Freeze Iran Nuclear Program for Six Months New York Times. November 23, 2013.
Will Obama Strike a Nuclear Deal With Iran? The Nation. November 20, 2013.
Poll: Large Majority of Americans Support Nuclear Deal with Iran Think Progress. November 20, 2013
Iran Nuclear Deal Sought in Geneva After Israeli Criticism Bloomberg News. November 20, 2013
Sanctions Are Key Topic at Iran Talks Voice of America. November 19, 2013
Split on Accord on Iran Strains U.S.-Israel Ties New York Times. November 18, 2013
U.S.-Iran Thaw Grew From Years Of Behind-the-Scenes Talks Wall Street Journal. November 7, 2013
The road to finalizing a nuclear deal with Iran Al-Jazeera America. October 18, 2013
Western governments wary on eve of Iran nuclear talks The Washington Post. October 15, 2013
World powers set for nuclear talks with Rouhani Iran Agence France-Presse. October 14, 2013
Iran refuses to ship out uranium stockpiles but hopes rise of breakthrough The Guardian. October 13, 2013
Will Iran Go Big in Geneva? Al Monitor. October 11, 2013
See 2012 Articles