Inside the Plan to Undo the Iran Nuclear Deal

Inside the Plan to Undo the Iran Nuclear Deal

Author: Indira A. R. Lakshmanan;  Source: http://www.politico.com

For Barack Obama, July 14, 2015 marked the greatest diplomatic triumph of his presidency: Amid flags and flashbulbs in Vienna, his secretary of State, John Kerry, announced a historic, UN-backed nuclear accord to defuse the global security threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.

For Mark Dubowitz, the day was a bitter setback. He and his hawkish policy shop, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, had been fighting what they feared would be a bad deal since negotiations were announced. To blunt the sting, Dubowitz and his staff passed around a bottle of Laphroaig scotch. As they clinked glasses and discussed the next phase of their fight, Dubowitz’s eye landed on a souvenir collected by a colleague on a 1979 trip to Tehran: a commemorative plate bearing the face of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, first supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was a spine-stiffening reminder, Dubowitz recalled this week, of "how long Iran has been a sworn enemy of the United States.”

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The Cavalier Crusade for a War With Iran

The Cavalier Crusade for a War With Iran

Author:  Joe Cirincione & Geoff Wilson;  Source: https://warisboring.com

One year ago, opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement blasted the landmark accord as ushering in the Apocalypse. They are still at it.

“After doing everything they could possibly think of to subvert and undermine the nuclear negotiations before their successful conclusion — even an outrageous letter urging Iranian leaders to listen to Republicans instead of our President, the Republicans today continue to refuse to accept peace as the better course to safeguard our families,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) warned during a House floor speech on July 12.

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Transcript: Ambassador Andrew J. Young Speech at AIC Met Event

Transcript: Ambassador Andrew J. Young Speech at AIC Met Event

This speech is something I asked for.  I asked for it because it’s been a concern of mine since the very first days that I went to the United Nations.  Now, Iran was not my business, but I had a classmate from the Harvard Theological Seminary who had lived and worked in that region since I went to Georgia in 1954. He went to the Middle East.  He was fluent in all the languages.

So when I went to the United Nations, I said “look, can’t you send me some of your papers, some of your notes, some of your lectures.”  He happened to be on sabbatical at Harvard. He said, ”You know I don’t have any but why don’t I start trying to write up something.”

He ended up writing 300 pages.  But the first 20 pages were about Iran.  I had been to Iran with a fellow who I consider my mentor George Shultz who was Secretary of Treasury then and we were on the way to Kenya

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"Radical Islam?"

"Radical Islam?"

By Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi

The condemnable terrorist act in Orlando by a radical Muslim, Omar Mateen, has again caused a debate among politicians and others on whether the term “radical” should be used to identify the religion (Islam) of the terrorist or the Muslim person who has committed the murderous act.

President Barack Obama refuses to use the terms “radical Islam” or even “radical Muslim”. Mr. Donald Trump insists that they are the right terms to use. Secretary Hillary Clinton, who until recently refused to use the terms, now says we may use “radical” or “Jihadist Islam and Muslim” interchangeably. They are partly wrong

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AIC Statement on the Orlando Terrorist Attack

AIC Statement on the Orlando Terrorist Attack

The American Iranian Council joins all peace-loving and anti-violence people of the United States and the world in condemning, in strongest possible terms, the horrifying and cowardly terrorist attack on the LGBT night club in Orlando, Florida. The AIC also sends its deepest condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured.  

We also express our deepest regret that the Orlando murderer was a radical and hateful Muslim and that his religious affiliation is used by certain politicians and members of the media  to tarnish Islam, the religion of well over 1.4 billion people around the world, by prefixing it with the word “radical.” The truth is, Islam is neither radical nor moderate; it is just a religion, with one Prophet and one Holy book!

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AIC Accomplishments in "Thought Leadership"

The American Iranian Council is regarded as  "thought leader" in the field of US-Iran relations. What exactly does that mean?

Examples of Thought Leadership:

The public discussion around “normalizing” US-Iran relations began with the AIC. In the 1990, 26 years ago, when we began pursuing our cause, many thought that we were completely naive to be doing so. Iran was seen by the mainstream not only as an enemy of the US but as a country that ought to face years of international isolation and could not be engaged with diplomatically. US-Iran relations was truly a taboo subject. Today, that situation has changed markedly, and increasingly more and more people are coming to view the AIC position as the right one.

You don’t even have to take our word for it! You can watch Vice President Joe Biden, then Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, publicly align himself with the American Iranian Council’s position and praise the AIC by name for its work toward this goal.

>> Watch Joe Biden.

Moreover, our thought leadership throughout the nuclear talks proved to be the right one. While other groups simply served as cheerleaders for any accord, the AIC provided more thoughtful analysis regarding the accord’s expected effects on the Iranian economy, Iranian national security, relations with Arab states and Israel, and other issues. Rather than cheerleading the paltry concessions offered to Iran, we were right to point out that Iran was getting very little economic benefit out of the deal.

Moving forward, we plan on focusing our thought leadership on the issue of what we foresee as the impending “Vietnamization of Iran. The case of post-war Vietnam is elucidating. After the war ended, Asian and European firms entered the Vietnamese marketplace while American firms were still prohibited. By the time the US firms entered, years later, they were relegated to the role of subcontractors to the European and Asian firms.

We don’t want to repeat this fate in the post-JCPOA-era Iran and will be developing ideas and propagating them in the coming months to hopefully prevent the Vietnamization of Iran. Specifically, our thought leadership— to be embodied in our white paper, policy papers, Congressional roundtables, policy conferences, articles, and media appearances— will focus on how isolating Iran and barring American firms from the country will harm both the immediate and long-term US national interests.

Another area of thought leadership we will develop relates to the relative national power of Iran in its region. It is often argued that a weaker Iran is a better Iran for its region and that to achieve this outcome, Iran needs to be sanctioned, isolated and placed under constant threat. It is also said that a less democratic Iran leads to a weaker Iran and therefore support for Iranian nationalistic and democratic movements have to be limited. We want to show that indeed, a weaker Iran is a terrible Iran for its region and beyond and that a stronger Iran is a better Iran, a nation that will pursue peace and democratic development.

 

Examples of Achievements:

1.   The AIC has been three times granted permission by the U.S. government (Treasury OFAC) to open an office in Iran. The AIC is the only U.S.-based peace and conflict resolution NGO to be granted such a license.

2.   AIC helped Iran initiate an offer to the United States, known as the "Grand Bargain." See New York Times on the story here.

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/04/28/irans-proposal-for-a-grand-bargain/?_r=0

3.   Secretary Madeleine Albright gave her historic speech on Iran at an AIC conference when she expressed regret and apologized for 1953 coup and past US policy mistakes, lifted sanctions on carpets and food items, and offered Iran a global settlement (Watch the video here: http://www.us-iran.org/history/).  Years later, Iran's President Mohammad Khatami would characterize this initiative as a "missed opportunity.”

4.   Vice President Joe Biden, State Secretary John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (all senators at the time) as well as the late Secretary Cyrus Vance and many congressmen have spoken at AIC conferences and offered proposals for dialogue between the US Congress and the Iranian Parliament or dialogue between the two governments.

5.   Meeting among Speaker Mehdi Karubi and other members of the Iranian parliament and their American counterparts including the late Senator Arlene Specter in New York City was arranged by the AIC.

6.   AIC mediated President Obama’s humanitarian attention to Iran’s civilian airline tragedies and his Administration’s agreement to entertain a proposal from Iran to purchase spare parts from the United States.

7.   AIC helped in the release of American hikers Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal.

8.   AIC organized a meeting between an Iranian hostage taker (Abbas Abdi) and his American Captive (Barry Rosen) at UNESCO in Paris, in an effort to mitigate the impact of hostage taking on US-Iran relations.

9.   AIC was among the first NGOs to raise the issue of Iranian human rights in its conferences. See this book: published by the AIC in 1994: http://www.us-iran.org/books/tension/

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

AIC Board Member Robert Hunter compares Trump and Clinton's foreign policy

AIC Board Member Robert Hunter compares Trump and Clinton's foreign policy

Originally published in LobeLog

Written by former Amb. Robert Hunter, AIC Board Member

Following Hillary Clinton’s June 2 foreign policy speech in San Diego, California, the whole world knows what she thinks of Donald Trump’s becoming commander-in-chief next January. “[His ideas] are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas—just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.”

Anyone who has any sense of the requirements of US foreign policy and national security must consider his becoming US president a prospect devoutly not to be wished.

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Entering through the Iranian Automotive's Market: Facilities and Infrastructure

Entering through the Iranian Automotive's Market: Facilities and Infrastructure

Author: Nader Vahhab Aghaei, Senior Expert of Aftersales Service (nader.aghaei@outlook.com)

Prior knowledge of the market is the pre-requisite of any organization to enter new markets. Investment in the potential hungry market of Post-sanctions is desirable. So the organizations that are planning to enter the Iranian markets, need to identify features and capabilities of the automotive industry, especially in the area of services so that they could be superior to their competitors.

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Policy and Fundraising Event at The Metropolitan Club Featuring Amb. Andrew J. Young

June 20, 7-11 pm
The Metropolitan Club
1 East 60 Street
New York, NY 10022

Seats are limited. Register today for AIC's Policy and Fundraising Event at The Metropolitan Club featuring Ambassador Andrew J. Young.

Register at www.metclub.us-iran.org
Send inquiries to metclub@us-iran.org

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Amirahmadi Responds to Ben Rhodes’s Thoughts on Nuclear Accord

Amirahmadi Responds to Ben Rhodes’s Thoughts on Nuclear Accord

AIC President Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi recently responded to the controversial Ben Rhodes profile in the New York Times magazine, offering his thoughts on the status of the nuclear accord. Dr. Amirahmadi said that while the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was formally adopted only last year, the road to the accord was paved by the White House and Supreme Leader Khamenei years earlier and included an “engineered” 2013 presidential election in which Mr. Rouhani was the preferred candidate.

Listen to the full interview

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Opportunities of Aftersales Services in Iran’s automotive industry

Opportunities of Aftersales Services in Iran’s automotive industry

Author: Nader Vahhab Aghaei, Senior Expert of Automotive Industry (nader.aghaei@outlook.com)

Almost 50 years have passed since the establishment of Iran National Company. This organization, by transferring the automobile assembly technology of Talbot factory, began assembling the first Paykan automobile in Iran. Its boldness, consequently, paved the way for other organizations to turn toward assembling other automobiles such as Citroen Dyane, Renault 5, Pride, Shahin and Aria. Organizational maturity and sophistication is the least expectation from 40 years of industry and once more Iran Khodro Co. (former Iran National) showed courage and stopped its 40-year old production of Paykan to examine its own automotive capability by designing national automobiles. And if world economic limitations were not imposed upon Iran, maybe today it would unpretentiously be on the way of automotive contenders.

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Amirahmadi ILNA Interview (Persian language)

Amirahmadi ILNA Interview (Persian language)

سرمایه‌داران آمریکایی مخالف ویتنامی شدن روابط با ایران هستند

هوشنگ امیراحمدی به عنوان رئیس شورای آمریکاییان و ایرانیان، نزدیک به سه دهه است که برای برقراری رابطه میان ایران و آمریکا تلاش می‌کند و در این راستا در یک دهه گذشته چند بار به ایران سفر کرد. امیراحمدی در هفته‌های اخیر با طرح دیدگاهی انتقادی نسبت به برجام، خبرساز شد. در خصوص مناسبات اقتصادی ایران با آمریکا و اتحادیه اروپا پس از اجرایی شدن برجام و چالش‌های اقتصادی پیش رو با وی به گفت‌وگو پرداختیم که مشروح آن را در ادامه می‌خوانید:

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The Persian Influence on Western Civilization with Jason Reza Jorjani

The Persian Influence on Western Civilization with Jason Reza Jorjani

Jason Reza Jorjani, PhD, is a philosopher and faculty member at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is author of Prometheus and Atlas.

Here he points out that the pre-Socratic, Greek philosophers came from portions of Greece that were then ruled by the Persian empire. This connection, he maintains, is not accidental – as the Persian Zoroastrian culture fostered the ideal of “truth” that was fundamental to the development of philosophy. Jorjani also points out that the Persian empire was the only one in the ancient world to outlaw slavery. In addition to exerting an enormous influence on Greeks and Egyptians, the ancient Persians also interacted extensively with and influenced the Jewish people.
 

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Obama in the Arab Lions' Den

Obama in the Arab Lions' Den

Originally Published on LobeLog

By Amb. Robert E. Hunter
AIC Board Member
Former US Ambassador to NATO

President Barack Obama would surely not compare himself to a Biblical prophet. But by going this week to Riyadh to take part in a summit meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, he might as well be like Daniel in the Old Testament, thrown into the lions’ den. Although his hosts will no doubt be civil and courteous, they nevertheless cast themselves in the role of lions—with the exception of the Sultan of Oman, America’s only true friend in the region.

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Here’s the deal with Sen. Flake’s Equal Protection in Travel Bill

Here’s the deal with Sen. Flake’s Equal Protection in Travel Bill

Essentially, The Equal Protection in Travel Act would remove the clause that bars nationals of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Iran from participating in the visa waiver program. Notably, it would not remove the clauses that target individuals who have traveled to those four countries in the past five years.

The American Iranian Council welcomes the removal of the targeting on the basis of nationality, but continues to object to the unfair targeting of tourists, businesspeople, and visitors wishing to see their families in Iran. Moreover, the Council remains concerned about the impediment this poses for trade and economic relations with Iran. Indeed, according to the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the EU, its member states, and the US were to “refrain from any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran.” This clause targeting travelers effectively disincentivizes businesspeople from visiting Iran and engaging in trade and economic relations with the country in a post-JCPOA era.

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Staying Ahead of the Curve

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Let us be direct in this letter: unless current trends change, a disastrous shift in US policy towards Iran is a real possibility. Given this, complacency and procrastination are no options if we want to see a better US-Iran relationship. Thus, we are seeking your active and full-fledged support now. Please also share this message widely with your friends and family.

The nuclear accord raised hopes that the direction set would lead to further opening on both sides for more cordial relations. Unfortunately this has not been the case. In Iran, the Islamic regime has toughened its position vis-à-vis the US, hoping to prove its autonomy and revolutionary legitimacy in the wake of an unequal deal with the US, which Tehran continues to call its “enemy.” Iran’s only reason for accepting the deal was to have sanctions lifted, but it now finds that the situation with the sanctions has not substantially changed

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EVENT: The US Election and Middle East Foreign Policy

EVENT: The US Election and Middle East Foreign Policy

In order to educate the public ahead of the consequential April 19 New York State primary election, the AIC and Marymount Manhattan College invited Dr. James Zogby, a surrogate for the Sanders campaign, and Mr. Richard Nephew, an advisor to the Clinton campaign, to speak at a major event. Each speaker outlined his candidate's Middle East foreign policy and took questions from the audience.

The topics they covered included the nuclear accord, sanctions, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, America's relationship with Saudi Arabia, the fight against ISIS, the Syrian civil war, and the prospect for normalized US-Iran relations.

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AIC Iran Brief: The 2016 Elections in Iran

AIC Iran Brief: The 2016 Elections in Iran

By Bradford Van Arnum, AIC Research Associate

In the middle of March, Iran’s Interior Ministry announced that runoff elections for nearly 70 parliament seats would occur on April 29. The first round of voting had taken place on February 26, when Iran held elections for both its parliament and Assembly of Experts. The former is a 290-member body that is elected every four years, while the latter is the group responsible for choosing a new Supreme Leader when a vacancy arises. The elections for the two institutions, both of which have been dominated by conservatives in recent years, were seen as key tests of President Rouhani’s time in office, and in particular, a referendum on the nuclear accord that was signed in July 2015.

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