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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.

Statement of the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon

January 8, 2018.

Today, a bipartisan group of 52 American national security leaders issued a statement urging U.S. policymakers not to undermine the Iran nuclear agreement. They also expressed support for the rights of the Iranian people to free speech and condemned the use of force against protestors.

The statement comes as the Administration faces a key deadline. By January 12, the president must decide whether to violate U.S. commitments under the Iran nuclear agreement by re-imposing nuclear sanctions, or continue to waive the sanctions and remain in compliance. Iran continues to abide by the terms of the agreement, according to U.S. defense and intelligence officials, U.S. allies and international nuclear inspectors.

The signatories include: 11 former members of Congress, 12 retired flag officers of the U.S. military, and six former U.S. ambassadors to Israel. Prominent signatories include Paul O’Neill, former Secretary of Treasury; John Danforth, former Senator and Ambassador to the United Nations; Richard Lugar, former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Carl Levin, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Lee H. Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; David Dreier, former Chairman of the House Rules Committee; General Michael Hayden, former Director of NSA and CIA; Admiral Eric Olson, former Commander of Special Forces; General Johnnie Wilson, Commanding General of U. S. Army Materiel Command; General Chuck Boyd, Deputy Commander in Chief of U.S. European Command; and Thomas Pickering and Nicholas Burns, both former Under Secretaries of State for Political Affairs.

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 and pasted below.

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Prevention of an Iranian nuclear weapon is a vital U.S. national security objective. The multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), assures that if it continues to comply with it, Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon for at least 13 years, after which time the parties can either implement a follow-on agreement or be free to take other approaches to keep Iran to its JCPOA pledge never to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Iran agreement does not guarantee that Iran will be without a nuclear weapon permanently, but it represents a major first step toward achieving an important long-term U.S. objective and a foundation on which further progress can be built.

The U.S. together with the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran should, therefore, continue to implement rigorously the JCPOA.  The U.S. should also participate actively in the JCPOA Joint Commission to ensure Iranian compliance; to influence necessary responses to any Iranian violations; and to explore with other Joint Commission members ways to prepare supplementary or follow-on agreements that provide long-term security against an Iranian nuclear weapon.

We also believe that continued implementation of the JCPOA is critical for the security of our European and East Asian allies, as well as to a continued positive, coordinated approach toward the Middle East and nonproliferation.

Commitment to full compliance with the JCPOA should not prevent the U.S. and its allies from confronting Iran where necessary to enable a political solution in Syria, the national stabilization and territorial integrity of Iraq, and a peaceful settlement to the war in Yemen.

U.S. strategy must ensure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and that neither Israel nor the Gulf States are threatened by Iran or Iran’s proxies such as Hezbollah. Regional security and stability and U.S. relations with partners and friends across the Middle East must remain at the forefront of U.S. policy.

We the undersigned as individuals believe it is time to come together on a non-partisan basis to form this National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon. Not all signers supported the JCPOA before its implementation. We are also supported in this National Coalition by leaders of The American Security Project, The American College of National Security Leaders, The Iran Project and other organizations that do not, as a matter of policy, sign on to coalitions.

We support the rights of Iranian citizens to free speech and peaceful protest and we condemn the use of force against peaceful demonstrations.  In responding to developments in Iran, now and in the future, the U.S. should be careful not to take any steps that might undermine the JCPOA which remains vital to U.S. national security.

We issue this statement in the belief 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. We call on the U.S. Administration and Congress, in the interest of American national security, to take no action that would place the United States in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and to remain a strong supporter of its full implementation.

Amb. (ret.) Morton Abramowitz, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research; Ambassador to Thailand and Turkey
Graham Allison, Assistant Secretary of Defense
Howard Berman, U.S. House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
General (ret.) Chuck  Boyd, U.S. Air Force, and Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Ambassador to Greece
BGen. (ret.) Stephen A. Cheney, Inspector General, U.S. Marine Corps
Joseph Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund
Amb. (ret.) Chester A. Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Amb. (ret.) James B. Cunningham, Ambassador to Israel, Afghanistan and the United Nations
John Danforth, U.S. Senate and Ambassador to the United Nations
Tom Daschle, U.S. Senate and Senate Majority Leader
Suzanne DiMaggio, Senior Fellow and Director of the Iran Initiative at New America
David  Dreier, U.S. House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Committee on Rules
Amb. (ret.) James Dobbins, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin (ret.), U.S. Marine Corps, and Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
Leslie Gelb, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs and Director of Policy Planning and Arms Control at the Department of Defense
Vice Admiral Kevin P. Green (ret.), U.S. Navy, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations
Lee H. Hamilton, U.S. House of Representatives, and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Vice Chair of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Amb. (ret.) William C. Harrop, Ambassador to Israel and Inspector General of the Department of State
Gary Hart, U.S. Senate and Special Envoy to Northern Ireland
General Michael Hayden, U.S. Air Force, and Director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence
Stephen B. Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
James Hoge, Former Editor of Foreign Affairs Magazine
Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson (ret.), U.S. Air Force, and Deputy Commander of U.S. Strategic Command
J. Bennett Johnston, U.S. Senate
LTG. Frank Kearney (ret.), U.S. Army, and Deputy Director for Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counterterrorism Center
Amb. (ret.) Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador to Israel and Egypt
Ellen Laipson, Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council and President Emeritus of the Stimson Center
Carl Levin, U.S. Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services
Amb. (ret.) William H. Luers, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela
Richard G. Lugar, U.S. Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Jessica T. Mathews, Director of the Office of Global Issues of the National Security Council
Amb. (ret.) Richard W. Murphy, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Richard Nephew, Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State and Director for Iran of the National Security Council
Paul O’Neill, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Joseph Nye, Assistant Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council
Admiral (ret.) Eric Olson, U.S. Navy, and Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command
Amb. (ret.) Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Ambassador to Israel, Russia, India, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan, and the United Nations
Paul R. Pillar, National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia
Amb. (ret.) Nicholas Platt, Ambassador to Pakistan, Philippines, and Zambia
Amb. (ret.) J. Stapleton Roy, Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research and Ambassador to China, Indonesia, and Singapore
RADM (ret.) Joe Sestak, U.S. Navy, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs
Gary Sick, Director for Iran and the Persian Gulf of the National Security Council
Jim Slattery, U.S. House of Representatives
Rear Admiral Michael Smith (ret.), U.S. Navy, and President of the American College of National Security Leaders
Amb. (ret.) Craig Stapleton, Ambassador to France and the Czech Republic
Mark Udall, U.S. Senate
Amb. (ret.) Edward S. Walker, Jr., Ambassador to Israel, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates
James Walsh, Research Associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program
General (ret.) Johnnie Wilson, U.S. Army, and Commanding General of United States Army Materiel Command
Timothy E. Wirth, U.S. Senate
Amb. (ret.) Frank Wisner, Ambassador to India, Egypt, the Philippines, and Zambia; and Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs

* The signers of this statement were either former senior officials of the U.S. government or prominent national security leaders who have not held senior government positions.

The positions listed after the names of the former government officials are senior posts held while in office. The positions listed after the names of those who were not from the government are listed with their current position.

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.


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

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


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.

The National Interest
Roger Cohen
Benghazi Investigator Pickering Attends Muslim Forum

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.