Tuesday, December 21, 2004

CPD's Iran Proposal

Thanks to praktike over at Liberals Against Terrorism for posting a link to The Committee on Present Danger’s suggestions on creating a new approach on Iran that combines engagement and isolation.

The CPD clearly lays out the threat presented by Iran:


The centrality of the threat posed by Iran is clear. In addition to its peace-threatening nuclear program, Iran under Khamenei, continues to be the world’s foremost state supporter of terrorism, offering financial and logistical support to both Shi'a and Sunni terrorist organizations, including Hizballah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Elements of al-Qaida and Ansar al-Islam transit through Iran and find safe haven there. Through these groups Khamenei destabilizes the region, prevents the emergence of an independent and democratic Lebanon and tries to stymie any movement toward peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Khamenei supports Moqtada al-Sadr and others in Iraq who want it to become another theocratic dictatorship under Iranian tutelage. He is seeking regional hegemony, both ideologically and militarily. His growing oil wealth increases his capacity for wreaking havoc on his own people and the region.


Prakite summarizes the CPD proposals (but read the whole report):

  • Offer to reopen our embassy in Tehran
  • Step up cultural, academic and professional exchanges
  • Authorize American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to operate within Iran
  • Arrange for young Iranian activists to attend civic campaign seminars in the U.S. and elsewhere
  • Engage in interaction between such agencies as the CIA, FBI and the Drug Enforcement
  • Agency with Iranian counterparts on issues such as drugs and terrorism
  • Build a legal case against Khamenei and his associates for their financing of terrorists and human rights violations in order to build pressure for them to "return to the mosque" or face a possible international tribunal
  • Use "smart" sanctions to target assets of Khamenei and his associates
  • Provide up to $10 million a year to fund independent satellite television stations now broadcasting from the U.S. to Iran.

I think this is a step in the right direction and is a good starting point for developing a policy on Iran, which may become the dominant foreign policy issue of the next four years (unless Russia continues on its current backslide). I am skeptical that all of these proposals would work. Does Iran really want us to open an embassy Tehran? Would Iran allow students to attend to interact with activists from other countries? Would Iran really interact with the FBI, CIA, and DEA? And I think the threat of forces has to be sufficient and clearly defined. Nonetheless we need to develop, and develop fast, a policy that isolates the mullahs while supporting pro-democracy forces in Iran, and this a good place to start.


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