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Open Think Tank Articles

October 25, 2012 | The West Should Not Give Heavy Arms to Syrian Rebels

Ievgen Vorobiov: The US and the EU should tread carefully in their policy on Syria, as an increase of weapon supply to rebels advocated by some Arab countries and American politicians might turn the horrible status-quo into an irreversible geopolitical disaster. Decision-makers across the Atlantic should resist supplying heavy arms to the rebels, amplifying their efforts for a diplomatic solution instead.

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October 15, 2012 | Obama vs. Romney: Fighting to Be Different

Joshua Clapp: Tomorrow marks the second US presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The debate, in a town meeting format, will include not only domestic policy but also foreign policy. How do the two candidates approach the outside world? Here is a look at five main foreign policy issues.

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October 1, 2012 | Gaining the Upper Hand Over the Iran-Hezbollah Axis

Niklas Anzinger & Ludwig Jung: Syria’s civil war has left the region’s revolutionary axis vulnerable. Tehran and Hezbollah are pursuing an even more aggressive strategy against their perceived enemies. Apart from putting more pressure on Tehran, designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the EU would help Western powers dry up financial sources in several European countries.

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September 13, 2012 | Iran and the Bomb: US and Israeli Responses

Aaron Thomas Walter: This paper considers the relationship between the United States, Israel and Iran. The primary finding of this study suggests that the actions of all three countries are anchored in the realist realm and will continue to be bound to the concepts of power and security.

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June 25, 2012 | Failure to Launch?

Andrew Walker: NATO hopes to have its anti-ballistic missile defense in place by 2018. Any future system will bring with it high financial and diplomatic costs. The question is whether NATO wishes to actually pay those costs for a system that is still unproven and will never be 100% effective.

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May 23, 2012 | The Baghdad Talks: Setting the Pieces for the Next Round

Sami Kronenfeld: Representatives from the US, Europe, Russia, and China are meeting with their Iranian counterparts to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. The talks can only be successful if Europe and the US reach an agreement with Russia and China on what to do if Iran does not follow international agreements.

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April 2, 2012 | The Psychological Aspects of the Nuclear Conflict with Iran

Bernhard Lucke: The actual conflict with Iran is very much centered on the symbolic issue of nuclear enrichment. However, this misses the depth and history of the conflict. In particular, the psychological aspects of the confrontation between Iran and Israel should be considered more.

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March 30, 2012 | March's Top 3 Highlights

Editorial Team: March was filled with a number of special segments at atlantic-community.org. From our continuing Q&A series with NATO officials (the most extensive yet) to our policy workshop competition (with a second Atlantic Memo coming next week), here are the top highlights from the month.

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March 28, 2012 | Will Iran's Defensive Realism Policy Work?

Gökhan Tekir: To prevent a NATO attack on its country, Iran is seeking to expand its sphere of influence. However, in the long term Iran’s allies will not be able to maintain their hold on power because of domestic troubles. Such troubles leave Iran in the precarious situation of relying on unstable allies.

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March 16, 2012 | James Appathurai on the NATO Mission This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: Why doesn’t NATO have a good slogan? The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy answers this and more in a final set of your questions, including answers about post-Cold War relevance and the strength of the Article 5 guarantee.

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March 7, 2012 | Janus-faced Turkey's Syria Challenge

Niklas Anzinger: Turkey’s success story of combining moderate Islam and democracy is being challenged by the ruling AK Party’s power grab. In this game, the struggle for power trumps ideology, but the religious resurgence remains an element of unpredictability in foreign policy. Regarding Syria, reality mugged the ill-guided Middle Eastern adventures of Turkey.

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February 27, 2012 | January & February's Best Debates

Editorial Team: Great policy recommendations emerge from the collective intelligence of the community. That means your articles are not only important in themselves but as a platform for debate in the comments below. Here are the best debates from January and February, they’re still open to read and add your thoughts!

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February 23, 2012 | From Escalation to Engagement: How to Avoid War

Memo 37: The United States and Europe should strive to de-escalate the growing tensions between Iran and the West. The transatlantic partners could do this by reframing their Middle East policy, promoting a more coherent nuclear proliferation stance, and allowing Europe to act as a bridge between Iran and the US.

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February 13, 2012 | Iranian Oil: Out of Ideas and Out of Cash

Amrit Deecke Naresh: Western sanctions are just one reason Iran’s oil industry is facing a crisis of output and sustainability. Eventually, Iran’s leaders will have to come to grips with the fact that foreign investment will be needed to prevent its imminent decline.

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February 10, 2012 | Rapprochement with Iran: Improbable Necessity?

Vince A.M. Klösters: Western rapprochement towards Iran is the only rational course of action serving long-term stability and peace in the Middle East. We can use models of past détente with China to plot a course towards a pragmatic and secure status quo in the region.

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February 8, 2012 | Iran Standoff Should Spell End of Nuclear Hypocrisy

Jason Naselli: Demands that Iran (or anyone else) not seek nuclear weapons are hard to swallow while the US clings to so many. The only real solution for solving problems like Iranian proliferation is a legitimate nuclear regime that treats all countries equally. This means getting more serious about disarmament.

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February 7, 2012 | We Need More Strategic Thinking in the Iran Debate

Aaron Ellis: In the perennial debate over what to do about Iran, those who think they have a solution to the problem rarely put it in the context of a broader strategy or explain their trade-offs and indirect consequences. Overall strategy and the ensuing consequences are precisely what we should be considering when debating Iran.

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February 6, 2012 | Poll Results: Atlantic Community's Focus in 2012

Editorial Team: We’re excited to reveal the results of our latest members’ poll and inform you of what our priorities will be in 2012. As well as displaying your decisions on the most important issues of 2012, we’re also announcing our first theme week and what we plan to do with the topics you requested throughout the rest of the year.

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January 26, 2012 | Renewable Energy as an Incentive for Peace

Keri Elise Majikes: The US can eliminate Iran’s incentives for developing nuclear technology without becoming militarily involved by creating an economic agreement that establishes Iran as a leader in renewable energy. Such an agreement would be less expensive than a military operation against Iran.

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January 19, 2012 | A Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: With the war drums on Iran sounding and the Arab revolts following an arduous path, there still remains no sustainable perspective for a peaceful Middle East. The Conference for Security and Cooperation can bring the important civil society element to bear in a region where state-centric solutions have failed.

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January 13, 2012 | An International Event Calendar for 2012

Editorial Team: Elections and transfers of power look set to dominate world events in 2012. Will Chinese leadership adopt a more aggressive stance? Will Egypt develop into an Islamist regime? Here is a brief look at these and other events likely to shape the new year. Feel free to share any events you think will also be important.

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December 13, 2011 | History Repeats Itself with Azerbaijan's "Shah"

Shahla Sultanova: Like Iran in the 1970s, Azerbaijan’s oil wealth is being funneled into an increasingly ostentatious and autocratic regime that uses its energy reserves to curry favor with the West. Without changes soon, Azerbaijan will also follow Iran into collapse, revolution, and opposition to the West.

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November 2, 2011 | October's Best Debates

Editorial Team: Great policy ideas are collaborative, and member comments are a key part of our think tank. Here are some of the best comment debates from the past month, including discussions about Iran’s nuclear intentions, what Libya means to NATO, strategies for better engagement with Russia, and the possibilities of a Eurasian Union.

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October 31, 2011 | Overcoming the Paradox of Iranian Sanctions

Sascha Lohmann: The ever increasing use of sanctions against Iran reveals their actual function as a policy substitute. An engagement strategy based on concrete reciprocity should be used to fill this strategic void.

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October 17, 2011 | Iran's Nuclear Buildup Now Faces Tough Future

Paul Smyth: Away from the headline grabbing conflicts in North Africa and Syria and the recent convoluted assassination attempt, Iranian progress toward membership of the atomic club has continued with little international attention or fanfare. But recent events point to Iran having a much more difficult road ahead.

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October 13, 2011 | Israel's Old Road is Rapidly Fading as Times Change in Middle East

John Taylor: While the Jewish state remains the strongest military power in the Middle East, it is increasingly isolated in a region undergoing dramatic political change. Israel needs to adopt a policy of engagement and dialogue with its neighbors in order to safeguard its position in the region.

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September 30, 2011 | It's Too Early to Write an Obituary for Al Qaeda

Shanthie Mariet D’Souza & Bibhu Prasad Routray : As more high-ranking Al Qaeda leaders are eliminated, officials in Washington appear increasingly confident about their progress in dismantling the terrorist network. Contrary to this assessment, Al Qaeda remains far from defeat. The US cannot afford to get complacent.

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September 2, 2011 | A New Track Against a Nuclear Iran

Felix F. Seidler and Niklas Anzinger: The Arab uprisings have opened new avenues for change in Iran. To slow Tehran’s military and nuclear ambitions, Western leaders must find a resolution to the Syrian conflict, while activists should harness the social power of the internet to force the Iranian regime to reform.

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August 25, 2011 | Nonviolent Tactics Could Topple Regime in Iran

CGA at NYU Ethnic Conflicts Learning Community : Nonviolent movements have toppled autocrats from Serbia to Egypt, and these tactics could also work in Iran. Protestors should exploit internal government divisions and leverage their youth and the strength of women to bring down this oppressive regime.

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August 24, 2011 | EU Should Back US in Sanctioning Syrian Oil

Johnny West: The West has bemoaned the lack of democracy in the Arab world for decades. Now, as the slaughter continues in Syria, it is time for the West to back its values with action. The recent US ban on purchasing Syrian oil has a good chance of debilitating the Assad regime. Europe must do the same.

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August 17, 2011 | Tehran's Nightmare: A Revolution in Syria

Saba Farzan: A successful Syrian revolution would mean the end of the destructive influence by the Islamic Republic and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas. This makes Western support for the Syrian pro-democracy movement even more important.

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August 11, 2011 | Turkish Delight: A Chance to Realign With the West

James Brian Taylor: Turkey’s relations with the United States and Europe have been strained over the past two years, despite a rich history of cooperation. But the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East provides a golden opportunity for Turkey to realign itself with the US and Europe, beginning with a reconciliation with Israel.

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June 16, 2011 | Students Advise Decision Makers This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: At the culmination of atlantic-community.org’s policy workshop competition, German students Julia Grauvogel, Philipp Große and Sascha Lohmann discussed their team’s policy recommendations with US Ambassador Philip D. Murphy and CDU/CSU Foreign Policy Spokesman Philipp Mißfelder.

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March 16, 2011 | Earthquakes: Iran not Safe for Nuclear Energy

Gerlinde Gerber: Following the catastrophe in Fukushima it is time to add a new dimension to the already controversial discussion about the Iranian nuclear program. This should serve as further push for the international community to strengthen its efforts to halt Iranian nuclear development.

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December 30, 2010 | What Should Top the Transatlantic Agenda in 2011?

Editorial Team: We invite you to tell us which three topics you think should top the agenda for the transatlantic partners in 2011. Your preferences will determine atlantic-community.org’s focus in the New Year.

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December 21, 2010 | Transatlantic Engagement with Iran on the Basis of Common Interests

Colette Grace Mazzucelli: The International Relations Learning Community at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs responds to atlantic-community.org’s Memos and argues that isolation and regime change in Iran are not viable options. Instead the West has to identify common interests with Tehran.

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October 29, 2010 | Policy Workshop: Iran's Nuclear Program

Editorial Team: From the 26th to the 29th of October, we focused on transatlantic policy concerning Iran’s nuclear program. As part of our student competition sponsored by the U.S. Mission to Germany, six short-listed articles were published and debated.

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October 29, 2010 | Political Concessions Prevent Nuclear Weapons

Alexander Pyka: War rhetoric and demands for the suspension of the Iranian nuclear program clearly do not work. It is time to make concessions to Tehran in order to move forward and prevent the accession of another country into the nuclear weapons club.

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October 28, 2010 | Iran: Practical Incentives Instead of Punitive Measures

Felix Haass: In the past, Transatlantic-Iranian relations have suffered from mutual mistrust on both sides. This has been a major impediment to a solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis. Any policy aimed at resolving the issue has to address these trust issues in one way or the other.

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October 27, 2010 | Mutual Trust Building is Required Between the West and Iran

Sascha Lohmann: A system of ‘concrete reciprocity’ is required between the Transatlantic partners and Tehran. Moreover, the psychological dimension and the domestic factors of Iranian nuclear politics also have to be taken into consideration.

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October 27, 2010 | Regime Change Online: Iran's Internet Generation Holds the Key

Felix F. Seidler: The situation in Iran will only change through the ousting of Ahmadinejad by democratic means. This will require the West to energize the opposition and youth of the country via the media.

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October 26, 2010 | Isolate the Regime in Tehran

Niklas Anzinger: President Obama’s current dialogue policy legitimizes and strengthens radical forces in Iran, while it weakens moderates. The West should adopt a more confrontational strategy which includes consistent political and economic isolation.

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September 16, 2010 | The Limited Power of Presidential Popularity

Editorial Team: President Obama’s popularity in Europe does not translate into more support for US policies. According to Transatlantic Trends 2010 differences in public opinion remain on Iran and Afghanistan. Europeans are much more pessimistic than Americans regarding the ISAF mission, but they share US support for NATO being prepared to act outside of Europe.

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August 13, 2010 | Will Israel Launch an Air Strike Against Iran?

Editorial Team: A transatlantic pro & con debate has emerged in recent days over the question of whether Israel will resort to an air strike in order to keep Iran from building the bomb: In the US, there are fears that Israel might do so within the next twelve months, while Germans relegate this to the realm of the fantastic.

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May 17, 2010 | Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard

Shirin Mohammadi: Imposing targeted sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is more likely to hurt the broader Iranian public and not likely to achieve the ultimate goal of moderating the regime’s behavior.

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March 24, 2010 | Channeling "Nixon Goes to China " in the Middle East

Greg Randolph Lawson: The balance of power between Sunni and Shia has shifted since the 2003 Iraq War. A bold, “Nixon goes to China ” moment with Iran could reset the balance in the region and allow the US to recalibrate its Middle East strategy.

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March 18, 2010 | Iran and the Arab States: A Delicate Balance of Power

Baudouin Long: Iran’s nuclear ambition is not only a factor of concern for the Western powers but for its Arab neighbors as well. They have reacted to the Iranian threat by developing several strategies in compliance with the NPT. Nevertheless, they suffer from their disarray and should oppose a more united front to Iran.

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February 18, 2010 | The Iran Nuclear Weapons Programme: Toward Renewed Diplomatic Engagement

Saeb Sal Kasm: Successful resolution of the Iranian nuclear dilemma requires creative and skillful diplomatic engagement. Otherwise, the parties risk further isolation, politically charged rhetoric, and eventually escalation toward military confrontation.

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January 27, 2010 | Implications of a Nuclear Iran

Antonio Buttitta: Iran is the only country in the Middle East that can not be challenged by Western powers without risking a severe unbalancing of global economies or an all out decent into war - a prospect that would be ultimately unsuccessful for all involved. Instead, rapid diplomacy must lead to effective negotiations, based on a new scheme.

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December 9, 2009 | Seizing Opportunities from Turkey's Growing Influence

Memo 21: Amid growing fears of Turkey moving away from the West, atlantic-community.org presents the findings from its special analysis week on Turkey. Members agree that Turkey’s foreign policy should not be misinterpreted as a shift East and call upon the US and the EU to start embracing Turkey’s growing influence.

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November 26, 2009 | Turkey's Holistic Approach

Stefanie Jennifer Tetenburg: Current fears that Turkey is moving away from its Euro-Atlantic orientation are misguided. Ankara is indeed strengthening ties with its Muslim neighbors but it is also improving relations with Russia and Armenia. The West should, instead, focus on the benefits that Turkey’s multilateral foreign policy can bring.

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November 23, 2009 | The US Needs Turkey for its Middle East Agenda

Brian Katulis: Turkey and the US need to coordinate their efforts in South Asia, Iraq, Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict, towards common goals. In order to make progress on his ambitious policy agenda for the Middle East, Obama needs Turkey. To this end, improving US- Turkish bilateral ties is a first crucial step.

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November 20, 2009 | Ankara: Looking West, Moving East?

Gamze Avci: Turkey’s fatigue with the EU has accommodated the diversification of its foreign policy. The perceived uncertainty about the accession process has slowed down reforms and has reduced EU leverage over Ankara. But, at present the mainstay of Turkish foreign policy remains EU membership.

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October 15, 2009 | Wanted: A Campaign for Global Technological Innovation

Melissaratos/Slabbert: As global challenges become increasingly technocentric, a concerted campaign to usher the world into a new technological era is sorely needed. Thus, the US and other governments should invest in a global campaign for technological innovation.

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October 12, 2009 | Iran and the NPT: "Some Animals are more equal than others"

Andreas Michael Bock: Iran is legally entitled to posses nuclear WMD - not inspite, but because of the NPT. The international treaty claims to apply equally to all contracting parties, but numerous exceptions have been made in the past. Then why should the NPT apply to Iran?

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September 21, 2009 | Deadly Divide: Sunni-Shia Conflict Determines Iraq's Future

Urs Schrade: Sectarian tensions continue to threaten civil war with large Sunni and Shia Muslim populations throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq. The current war in Iraq will play a prominent role in determining the future of the Sunni-Shia conflict. The ethno-religious conflict will in turn determine the future of Middle Eastern relations and security.

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September 15, 2009 | The Road to Tehran Does Not Run Through Moscow

Jeffrey Mankoff: It is a priority of the USA to gain Russia’s support for a new round of UN sanctions against Iran. However, due to a number of economic, diplomatic, and strategic factors, it is very unlikely that Moscow will take meaningful steps against Tehran. Thus, the Obama Administration should circumvent Russia and find a way to solve the Iranian nuclear problem alone.

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August 24, 2009 | Slow Steps! Not All at Once!

Leon V. Sigal: The world needs to focus on first steps toward abolition, not the ultimate goal. Most importantly, before moving to Zero, the West has to achieve major efforts in its relations with North Korea and Iran.

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August 17, 2009 | Nuclear Abolition: Now or Never?

Editorial Team: Nuclear disarmament is back on the agenda in the international debate. Atlantic Community members are encouraged to join the conversation as we host a special Theme Week on “Global Zero.” We will present the results from your discussion at the Böll Foundation’s conference “A World Without Nuclear Weapons or Nuclear Anarchy?”

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July 3, 2009 | Little Opportunity for the West to Influence Iran

Florian Broschk: While the rest of the world ponders the impact the unrest in Iran will have on foreign policy issues, there is a much greater struggle going on inside the country. Different factions are manoeuvring for control of Iran and there is little that the West can do to influence this power struggle.

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June 16, 2009 | Iran's Fabricated Elections: The US and EU Must React

Abbas Daiyar: Ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran’s theocratic regime has attempted to legitimize the dictatorship through democratic instruments, but the most recent presidential elections proved to Iranians that real change can only be established through a revolutionary overthrow of the clerical regime.

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June 15, 2009 | How to Respond to the Iranian Elections? This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: Amid chaos in the streets of Tehran, uncertainty remains as to the legitimacy of the election results and the appropriate response by Western countries. Please weigh in on the situation in our poll.

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April 2, 2009 | How to Extend NATO's MAP to Ukraine and Georgia

Fabian Martin Lieschke: US leadership can respond to the more imminent challenge of Iranian nuclear ambitions and extend NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Ukraine and Georgia. Here is a recommendation to President Obama.

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March 26, 2009 | Obama Needs the Unusual Suspects to Pacify South-Central Asia

Parag Khanna: President Obama’s administration may need to look outside of its traditional set of allies in order to secure stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding regions. There will be a cost attached to this cooperation, but the cost of failure may be higher.

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March 3, 2009 | Iran's Tactical Foreign Policy Rhetoric

Bidjan Nashat: The use of anti-Israeli, pan-Islamic, and anti-imperialist rhetoric has been a deliberate tool in the conduct of Iran’s post-revolutionary foreign policy.

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February 9, 2009 | Which Topics Should be Prioritized on the 2009 Transatlantic Agenda?

Editorial Team: The new Democrat administration and Europe’s positive welcome of President Obama promise to revitalize the transatlantic relationship. We are inviting you to tell us which three topics you think the US and Europe should prioritize. Your preferences will determine our focus in 2009.

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January 7, 2009 | What Should be the Priorities in Afghanistan in 2009? Vote Here

From the Editorial Team: During 2008 Afghanistan was among the most explosive political issues. The unstable state of the country will continue to affect the whole region. What are your recommendations for 2009? What is the most urgent action that needs to be taken in Afghanistan this year?

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December 2, 2008 | Understanding and Analyzing Iran's Nuclear Intentions

Oliver Schmidt: In assessing whether Iran intends to build nuclear weapons, it can be concluded that whilst no evidence or ‘smoking gun’ for an Iranian nuclear program can be found, the available clues and arguments strongly suggest that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons option.

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November 11, 2008 | Afghan Police and Economy: Lynchpins for Success

Memo 9: Afghanistan needs a continued international commitment to ensure its security and assist in economic and social development. The US, EU and Germany must focus on training local authorities. Cooperating with Iran and the Taliban remains a point of debate.

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November 6, 2008 | "Country First" to Be Obama's Motto

Simon K. Koschut: President-elect Obama faces a tough challenge once he takes office. The world is expecting change from America, but they shouldn’t hope for too much, too fast. Instead, in countries like Germany, the question needs to be “what can we do for the United States?” Likely topics of discussion will regard burden sharing in Afghanistan and possibly even Iraq.

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October 27, 2008 | Negotiating with Taliban is Admitting Defeat

Abbas Daiyar: The Afghan Foreign Minister’s statement opposing talks with insurgents emphasizes existing divisions within government circles in Afghanistan and abroad. The US and NATO must win the war in Afghanistan. Involving regional countries like Russia, China and India may prevent history from repeating itself.

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October 20, 2008 | "Weblogistan" Key to Democratization in Iran

Sepideh Parsa: The Islamic Republic is strangling the media landscape, crippling the democratic pillar of free speech. Censorship has given rise to the Iranian blogosphere. These blogs pave the way for democratic progress. The West should provide technological expertise to help Weblogistan flourish.

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October 10, 2008 | How the US and Germany Can Win in Afghanistan This Article contains Flash-Video

David Neil Lebhar: Ahmed Rashid argues that the conflict in Afghanistan needs a regional solution, including US-Iranian cooperation. The German military must intensify operations in northern Afghanistan, and the government has to educate the public about the mission’s importance.

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September 22, 2008 | It is High Time for Coordinated Transatlantic Action

Atlantik-Brücke’s Young Leaders: The Atlantic partners must jointly address the economic slowdown, competition over scarce resources and energy dependence. Moreover, the transatlantic relationship faces an immediate, critical test in Afghanistan. Success there is needed as a demonstration of our ability to effectively address common security threats.

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August 29, 2008 | Obama Stresses Security Policy Differences with McCain This Article contains Flash-Video

From the Editorial Team: In his nomination speech, the Democratic presidential candidate reiterates his commitment to direct diplomacy with Iran and his hawkish position on Pakistan. What do you make of Barack Obama’s security policy positions?

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August 4, 2008 | Iran's Strategy is Working

Fabian Martin Lieschke: Iran’s nuclear strategy – one that allows it to buy time and improve its negotiating position – seems to be working. The US policy shift has come too late - Iran has already wrapped Germany, Russia and China around its little finger. The next US President will be faced with a tough choice.

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July 30, 2008 | Beijing Must be Tougher on Tehran

Philip Gordon: China does not want to jeopardize its energy deals with Tehran which are essential for its economic development. But this is a short-sighted perspective which overlooks the risks the Iranian nuclear program represents for China itself. It is time for China to think strategically about Iran.

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July 28, 2008 | Iran's Political Shadow War

Sanam Vakil: Tehran’s factional disputes are rooted in the very character of the Iranian regime. They ensnare even its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But this can also mean that these figures’ political resilience in face of criticism can be underestimated.

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June 30, 2008 | Switzerland's Controversial Middle East Policy

Daniel Möckli: Switzerland pursues an ambitious Middle East policy that differs from US and EU polices in major ways. This has given rise to controversies lately. There are good reasons for the Swiss to pursue a conflict resolution strategy based on mediation and dialog with Iran and militant Islamist organization

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June 23, 2008 | Russia Profits from the Iran Nuclear Standoff

Ryan R. Miller: The belief Russia will help the West ease tensions with Iran is wishful thinking. A compliant Iran would be Gazprom’s biggest competitor. Washington should offer the Mullahs EU energy markets in exchange for concessions on the nuclear issue and thus reduce European dependence on Russian energy.

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June 19, 2008 | Germany Not Able to be Tough on Iran

Fabian Martin Lieschke: President Bush’s effort to unite the EU-3 behind an American proposal for harsher measures on Iran may be undermined by German domestic politics.

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May 22, 2008 | The Renaissance of Nuclear Deterrence

Thomas Speckmann: By highlighting the following dilemma “the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran”, Sarkozy signalled the return to a strategy of nuclear deterrence. Since the West’s most dreaded scenario is the nuclearization of the Middle East, calls to prevent Iran from acquiring the atomic bomb are becoming ever more frequent.

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April 15, 2008 | Energy Carrots for Iran: Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Ryan R. Miller: When major powers meet in Shanghai on April 16th to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, Washington should work with European capitals and leave the door open to greater EU-Iranian energy trade as a potential reward for Iranian good behavior. For post-communist Central Europe, disproportionately exposed to Russia’s energy monopoly, such a strategy could kill two birds with one stone.

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March 17, 2008 | An International Fuel Bank for Nuclear Power

Matt Dupuis: The idea of bringing the production and storage of nuclear fuel under international control is gaining support once again. The US should take the lead in creating a global fuel bank which would make it possible to test countries’ intentions while limiting their access to nuclear technology.

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March 11, 2008 | Iran Just Won't Stay Isolated

Charles Kupchan and Ray Takeyh: Rather than continuing to pursue strategies which isolate and attempt to contain Iran, the US needs to follow the lead of its Arab Allies, practice diplomacy, and encourage regional integration.

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March 5, 2008 | Poland's Iran Option

Ryan R. Miller: Possible Polish-Iranian energy cooperation puts U.S. policy makers between a rock and a hard place, as America finds itself committed both to isolating the Islamic Republic and supporting Polish efforts to outflank Russia’s Gazprom.

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February 22, 2008 | Transatlantic Security Agenda 2008

Benjamin Lucas Schoo: Vote now on what prominent security related issue the governments on both sides of the Atlantic should focus their attention on! We have identified 4 major tasks for 2008 and ask you to select which of these should be at the top of the transatlantic agenda. You can vote now on the right side.

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February 22, 2008 | A Nuclear "Rogue Axis"

Christian E. Rieck: A further proliferation of nuclear technology among ambitious middle powers is inevitable. Even though such a cooperation between Iran and Venezuela seems far-fetched at the moment, deepening ties amongst mounting international pressure could create an attractive nuclear possibility for them.

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February 11, 2008 | Iran is Still Dangerous: The US Must Negotiate

Ralf Fuecks: The United States must offer Iran direct negotiations regarding its nuclear program. There needs to be a higher level of political and energy cooperation.

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January 15, 2008 | Germany's Foreign Policy is Dangerous

Dr. Dimitrios Argirakos: Angela Merkel subordinates German international relations to US geopolitical objectives, something that Bismarck and Adenauer would not understand.

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December 18, 2007 | Europe and Missile Defense: A Risky Nap

Alexander Bernhard Bitter: Missile defense for Europe is coterminous with NATO’s mission. The European policy of waiting for a new US administration is flawed, as the financial burden of the endeavor could shift heavily toward Europe.

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December 3, 2007 | Dealing With Iran: Deterrence Is Not Enough

Matt Dupuis: A nuclear-armed Iran could result in regional spillover in the form of nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East. Negotiations, not deterrence, are the best way to avoid a nuclear free-for-all in the future.

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November 27, 2007 | Misleading Statements On Missile Defense Imperil Transatlantic Security

Andreas Beckmann: The general public does not understand the advantages of a US ground-based missile defense system in Europe. Western politicians should be wary of making confusing public statements that could facilitate Russian and Iranian efforts to divide the Alliance.

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November 19, 2007 | Western Woes and Rogue Pride

Christian E. Rieck: Western “rogue state” rhetoric is creating unlikely partnerships among the outcasts of the international community. The unity possible under the rogue state banner provides a welcome chance to mimic international legitimacy, and an opportunity to further erode democracy and consolidate domestic power—without Western admonitions to the contrary.

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November 6, 2007 | Nuclear Dealings

Mark Brzezinski: The US has missed opportunities to make sensible progress in India and Iran. In both cases, the United States should be promoting constructive engagement rather than undercutting long-held nonproliferation doctrine.

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October 22, 2007 | "The United States and Germany pursue the same goals" This Article contains Flash-Video

Robert M. Kimmitt:, U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, applauded Germany’s efforts at forging transatlantic economic bonds during a media breakfast hosted by the Atlantic Initiative in conjunction with the DGAP and Bohnen Kallmorgen & Partner. Kimmitt’s stop in Berlin was part of an extended trip through European capitals aimed at promoting common transatlantic policies towards financial and economic issues.

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October 18, 2007 | "The Axis of Good": Iran and Venezuela

Christian Rieck and Dustin Dehez: We argue that the growing public relationship between Iran and Venezuela is more a game of smoke and mirrors than a substantial threat. The US and EU must avoid rising to propaganda’s bait and continue dealing with Ahmadinejad and Chavez individually, bearing in mind that “if pushed too hard, even unlikely bedfellows can become a happy couple.”

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October 1, 2007 | Asking the Wrong Questions on Iran

Tony Karon: The West should not be asking whether Tehran will build nuclear weapons in the future, but rather how the regime can be persuaded that it doesn’t need them.

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September 28, 2007 | Europe Should Help Iraq, But Not Follow US Lead This Article contains Flash-Video

Joerg Wolf: Noting the high stakes for the continent and its limited capabilities, European analysts suggest that Europe should pursue different policies than the US or make support dependent on more involvement in the decision-making process.

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September 25, 2007 | Europeans Want America to Stay in Iraq

Joerg Wolf: We asked European policy experts for their opinions on proposed ways forward in Iraq. Respondents from ten different countries provided some surprising results.

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September 19, 2007 | How To Deal With Iran

Hans-Ulrich Klose: We need a new philosophy of deterrence against Iran. A tough containment policy, including Russia, and strong defense of Israel could bring about a changed security architecture in the Middle East that might finally include Tehran.

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September 18, 2007 | General Petraeus's Iraq: Before=After

Jan-Friedrich Kallmorgen: the only news from the White House and Petraeus findings is that any decision on American troop withdrawal is postponed: President Bush is betting it all on positive trends in Iraq. Should the situation improve, Germany too will have to do its part.

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September 10, 2007 | The Surge Rocks! This Article contains Flash-Video

Retired General James Jones: Positive trends on the ground could enable a shift in responsibility from Coalition forces to the Iraqi security forces.

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August 29, 2007 | Iraq: Who's Got the Best Plan?

The Atlantic Community Editorial Team: presents a comparative analysis of the most promising plans from policy makers and think tanks across the US. See all the strategies here, or download and print out a PDF with the full matrix of options.

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August 15, 2007 | Rocky Road Ahead For Turkish-American Relations

Irem Köker: I identify the issues to watch for between Turkey and the United States. Although the majority party remains in power, new developments on the Kurds, the Armenian genocide question and Turkey’s energy deal with Iran could have lasting consequences.

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August 10, 2007 | Iranians Could Be West's Best Ally

Kenneth Ballen: Almost 70% of Iranians favor normal relations with the United States. With all options against Iran still on the table, the West should pay more attention to a population whose majority supports democracy.

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July 11, 2007 | Europe Must Stop Iran

Dirk Niebel: Britain, France and Germany should get tough on Tehran through European economic pressure. Nuclear progress has already emboldened the government, and the West must take decisive action before it is too late.

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July 4, 2007 | America's Suicidal Statecraft

Shlomo Ben-Ami: I analyze the consequences of US grand strategy in the Middle East. The regional balance of power has been so thoroughly altered that an Arab-Israeli settlement now looks increasingly possible.

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May 17, 2007 | Quid Pro Quo is Best Deal For US and Iran

Maximilian Terhalle: I recommend that the United States offer Iran a fair deal in order to secure American interests in the Gulf region. The US needs to consider Iran’s political ambitions if it hopes to make headway with Tehran, and the international community should get involved in negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement.

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April 30, 2007 | Brussels Forum 2007: Frank Talk on Transatlantic Relations

Eberhard Sandschneider: The conference from the German Marshall Fund closes a strategic gap between Davos and Munich. The transatlantic discussion forum should improve relations between Europe and the United States.

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April 26, 2007 | Europe Needs a Debate on Missile Defense

Eckart von Klaeden: Europe and Germany need missile defense against the threat from Iran. Europe has long neglected the new strategic threats arising from missile proliferation.

This is the first of a two-part series from the Atlantic Initiative Advisory Board Member.

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Global Must Read Articles

October 26, 2012 | Where do Iranians Stand on their Nuclear Program?

In celebration of Iran’s “Ten Years of Nuclear Resistance,” Deputy Secretary Bagheri depicted Obama’s dual strategy as counter-productive, doing little to change behavior. ++ And he may be right. ++ Despite pressure from the West, 87% of the Iranians still consider their nuclear program important. ++ At the same time, 65% blame the economic hardships on sanctions. ++ All this suggests that

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August 29, 2012 | Mursi: Supporter of Democracy and Autocracy?

It is not only disturbing but also hypocritical that one of Mursi’s first trips abroad is to Iran. ++ He is there for the outdated Nonaligned Movement, but the world is now split between democratic and undemocratic states. ++ He is signaling his support for Iran’s autocratic government, although he himself was brought to power with the same kind of democracy movement Tehran tries to crush. ++

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August 8, 2012 | Why Israel (and the US) Exaggerate the Iran Problem

Israel’s “bomb Iran fever” is based on lies and what if’s. ++ Iran does not even have nuclear weapons and has offered concessions beyond its obligations under the NPT, but still Israel is foolishly convinced that it is a threat. ++ In part, it is a public relations stunt the Israeli government plays off of. ++ Israel would not attack Iran without consent from Washington and the others anyway.

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July 20, 2012 | Turkey: NATO's Wedge in Syria?

Among all the countries involved in the Syrian “cauldron”, Turkey’s agenda is the hardest to discern. ++ Both committing itself to regime change and sponsoring an armed group for the first time in a neighboring country, Turkey is taking a huge risk. ++ Capitalizing on recent tensions with its neighbor over air space, Turkey is NATO’s wedge in this phase of the Arab Spring. ++ Turkey’s role is

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May 16, 2012 | China and Iran: Economic, Political, and Military Relations

Over the past few decades, China and Iran have developed a broad and deep partnership centered on China’s energy needs and Iran’s abundant resources as well as significant non-energy economic ties, arms sales and defense cooperation, and geostrategic balancing against the United States. This partnership presents a unique challenge to U.S. interests and objectives. In particular, China’s policies

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March 22, 2012 | India's Iran Policy Simply Makes Sense

India has economic and domestic reasons for its ties with Iran. ++ India cannot simply give up Iranian oil: many Indian refineries are made for processing Iranian crude. ++ India has substantial trade with Iran beyond oil. ++ Iran also acts as a strategic gateway for India in maintaining Afghan links and countering the Chinese presence in Pakistan. ++ Domestically, India contains the largest

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March 16, 2012 | Follow New Delhi to Tehran

Iran and India are developing a warmer relationship. ++ In light of renewed sanctions, India hopes to step into the Iranian markets vacated by European firms. ++ Iran could provide India not only with oil, but also with chemicals, polymers, and plastic materials. ++ The US does not want to see a closer relationship between Iran and India. ++ In contrast to the US, India supports Iran’s right to

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March 6, 2012 | Obama Now Gets Iran Right

After the election of Iran’s parliament, there is a new political climate that augurs well for talks on the nuclear issue. ++ It is unlikely that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will now attempt to oust President Ahmedinejad, who has renewed his influence. ++ Obama correctly perceives the shift in the locus of power and sees the consolidation of authority as a window of opportunity. ++ Obama will

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February 22, 2012 | Netanyahu's Failures Endanger Israel

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has three conditions for war: it must delay Iran’s nuclear program; there must be minimal harm to Israel; and it must receive US and international support. ++ The Netanyahu government has had 20 months to prepare the home front but has not even built a respectable fire service. ++ Netanyahu is seen by Obama as seeking to ruin the Democrats’ reelection bid with an

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February 9, 2012 | Time to Make Nice with Assad

The violence in Syria could result in a full-blown civil war. ++ The controlled collapse of the Syrian regime is not possible considering that the army, the elites, and other segments of society still support the government. ++ With support from Iran and Hezbollah, Assad has the means to prolong the conflict. ++ A drawn-out struggle might ignite sectarian violence in the region. ++ The West must

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January 30, 2012 | Iran is a Distraction From Palestine

President Netanyahu has turned the Iranian threat into a convenient distraction away from Israel’s settlement policy. ++ He has taken advantage of President Obama’s preoccupation with the presidential elections. ++ Both Israel’s center and left parties have now adopted a policy of unilateral disengagement from Palestinian issues. ++ The end of negotiations for a two state solution is a “badge of

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January 27, 2012 | The Impact of Iran Sanctions on China and India

The impact of Western sanctions on Iran goes further than “market plays, fire sales and opportunism” for India and China. ++ The long term role Iran plays in their energy security policies has been missed. ++ Iran has sought to lock both countries into 25-year contracts for its oil. ++ Ideological positions may factor domestically in India and China but they are an outgrowth of energy interests.

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January 16, 2012 | Turkey Balances East-West Interests Over Syria

Turkey is now spearheading a joint Western-Arab-Turkish policy of forcing President Bashar Assad to cede power in Syria. ++ Previous good relations with Syria and Iran were part of a “zero problems with neighbors” policy. ++ Turkish attempts to mediate between the US and Iran have been wrongly interpreted as an “Islamic” foreign policy; their turn to the East is in fact based on solid strategic

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January 12, 2012 | Helping Iran Weather the Storm

China’s position over a possible Iran war is difficult as China has huge oil interests at stake. ++ China should not expect Russia to act on the issue and needs to act in accordance with its own interests. ++ If the US sanctions Chinese companies for trading with Iran then the Chinese government should take countermeasures. ++ Opposing an Iranian war need not lead to conflict between the US and

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January 10, 2012 | Iran's Threat to Oil Supplies is Real, but Desperate

Iran’s threat to close the Hormutz strait is real; it has the capability to block oil supplies in the region, albeit temporarily. ++ The Iranians have designed asymmetric tactics to effectively challenge preponderant US force at sea. ++ Disrupting maritime shipping in the Gulf is an outcome no one would like to see. ++ Closing the strait would not only be seen as an act of war by the US but would

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December 2, 2011 | Playing Chicken with Iran

The British embassy siege and subsequent expulsion of Iranian diplomats from London shows that the brinksmanship of the Iranian nuclear issue is heating up. ++ There are perverse incentives on both sides to ramp up the rhetoric: for Iranian hardliners, to embarrass President Ahmadinejad; for Western countries, to pressure Iran in the absence of international consensus (or a clear military

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November 16, 2011 | The Hollow Words of the War Hawks

Republican candidates have been scoring political points with their hawkish stances on Iran, but they don’t understand the complexities of the situation. ++ Many top security analysts think a military faceoff with Tehran would open a Pandora’s box of new dangers for the US and its allies. ++ Sanctions are working to isolate the regime, and an attack would only unify internal groups

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November 4, 2011 | Iranian Plot Makes Sense... in Iran

The Iranian assassination plot makes sense when viewed through the lens of domestic political struggles. ++ Competing factions in the Islamic Republic have always put their interests ahead of national interests and been willing to ally with foreign powers if it suited them. ++ The assassination plot was likely intentionally designed to fail by elements that want to forestall any openings to the

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October 13, 2011 | Iranian Terror Plot Would Have Been "An Act of War"

An Iranian assassination attempt on US soil should be a wake-up call for neo-isolationists: we have to continue to take the international terror threat seriously. ++ The nature of the plot shows that Iran is a legitimate threat that sees itself at war with the US, Europe, and their allies. ++ This was not one of the many ramshackle home-made plots broken up over the past decade; this was a

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October 10, 2011 | Obama Should Test Iran's Nuclear Offer

Three times during September’s UN General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made an offer to stop weapons-grade uranium enrichment in exchange for access to specialized fuel for its research reactor. ++ President Obama should move quickly to take Iran up on their offer. ++ Though this will not solve the problem of a nuclear Iran, President Obama should ask himself the same

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August 31, 2011 | Israel Should Intervene in Syria

By intervening in Syria, Israel could seize the opportunity offered by “the convergence of moral imperatives and strategic goals”. ++ This would oppose the passive precedent Israel has set in the Arab Spring, but offering a corridor for Syrian refugees via the Golan Heights could prove a “diplomatic coup” for Jerusalem, weakening the Assad regime while isolating Hezbollah

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August 5, 2011 | Iran Racing to Build the Bomb

Years of economic sanctions and diplomacy have failed to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear program. ++ In fact, Iran’s “pariah status has ironically engendered an esprit de corps within its scientific community” that has led to significant advances in its nuclear infrastructure in the past two decades. ++ Despite having its nuclear program isolated, ostracized and

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June 16, 2011 | No Ahmadinejad, no Dialogue

The weakening of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, exercised by Iranian religious leaders, significantly decreases the chances of nuclear negotiations with the US. ++ Despite his strong beliefs in the necessity of a nuclear program, the Iranian president is “the most ardent advocate” of nuclear talks, which he has used to raise his political profile. ++ Since the Iranian religious

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November 17, 2010 | NATO's Iran 'Threat' Conundrum

NATO members face a dilemma as to whether Iran should be declared a threat or not. ++ Some countries such as Turkey are opposed to the approach. ++ The chief problem with an “enemy perception of Iran” is that it views Iran through a Cold War lens, whereas in reality it and the West have many shared interests, such as combating drug trafficking, terrorism as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. ++ Yet,

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September 13, 2010 | Iran's Nuclear Program

Iran’s defiance over its nuclear program has remained a major concern for key international players over the past months. ++ Now, countries like Japan, UAE, and South Korea have also started taking measures to make Iran give up its nuclear ambitions. ++ The IAEA, however, is alarmed
over Iran’s “slow but steady production of low-enriched uranium”, which if continued would be

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July 28, 2010 | EU Tries to Get Iran to Talk

With new sanctions in place, the European Union is attempting to get Iran back to the table for talks on its nuclear program. ++ “A new diplomatic window of opportunity” is opening at the end of Ramadan, as EU High Representative Catherine Ashton plans to meet with the Iranians in Istanbul. ++ Up to now, Iranian proposals have constituted no more than a smoke screen. ++ As a result, there are

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June 24, 2010 | Dark Clouds Hang Over Iraqi Kurdistan

The recent rapprochement between Teheran and Ankara is manifesting itself in an increase of their activities against the Kurds in the North of Iraq. ++ “The Kurdish Regional Government has a hard time making its calls for calm and more respect of its territorial integrity heard.” ++ The Kurds suspect that Iran wants to promote a Shiite political takeover in Baghdad. ++ “A

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June 18, 2010 | Storm in a Teacup: Iran Will Remain a Theocracy

The protests following last year’s election in Iran did not constitute a popular uprising. ++ They “were no more than a storm in a tea cup that were projected by biased Western media reports.” ++ The demonstrators “never had the support of the groups and parties that matter in Iranian politics,” such as Bazaar merchants and students. ++ “For the 90 million people of

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May 27, 2010 | Turkey and Brazil at Fault for Shameful Deal

The recent fuel deal among Turkey, Brazil, and Iran was merely an attempt for Brazil’s Da Silva and Turkey’s Erdogan to prove they can be powerful players on the global stage. ++ Both Brazil and Turkey are young democracies trying to overcome their history of military rule, but “for their leaders to embrace and strengthen an Iranian president who uses his army and police to crush and

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May 26, 2010 | Obama's Russia "Reset" Actually More of the Same

The recent “success” in getting Russia to sign onto a new round of Iranian sanctions is being terribly oversold. ++ Moreover, Russia’s recent commitment to sign onto a new round of Iranian sanctions is not a product of the Obama administrations so-called “reset” policy. ++ In reality, the result of Obama’s policy has been “to produce a wave of insecurity

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May 21, 2010 | Russia the Winner in Iranian Fuel Deal

A deal orchestrated by Russia for the swapping of Iranian low-enriched uranium has given the Kremlin a diplomatic victory over the US. Though Washington was quick to dismiss the deal as a delaying tactic that will not stall the implementation of tough new sanctions, president Medvedev insisted that the swap was an important step toward finding “a politico-diplomatic solution to the problem

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May 19, 2010 | A Diplomatic Coup for Iran

“The deal struck Monday by Iran with Brazil and Turkey will do nothing to restrain Tehran’s nuclear program. It could, however, derail the Obama administration’s effort to focus international pressure on Iran and buy the regime more time to enrich uranium and defeat its domestic opposition.” In short the deal is a possible diplomatic coup for Iran. Tehran must be made to abandon its

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April 21, 2010 | White House Confused on Iran Policy

A recent memo drafted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates alarmed many when he stated that the Obama administration currently has no contingency plan should Iran develop a nuclear weapon. ++ “The public signs of the administration’s squishiness about military options are worrisome because of the lack of progress on its two-track strategy of offering negotiations and threatening

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April 14, 2010 | A Realist Take on China; Iran Sanctions

Recent reports that China is prepared to sign onto a tougher United States sanctions regime on Iran are overblown. ++ In reality, there are several compelling reasons why China will continue to “drag its feet” on Iran sanctions: to safeguard access to Iranian oil and gas; a sanguine attitude toward Iranian nuclear development; and a strategic desire to see the United States expend vast amounts

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March 16, 2010 | Iran Sanctions Don't Stick

“Sanctions are a sign of a failed policy.” ++ The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, currently under consideration in the United States Congress, targets Iran’s civilian economy and will likely accomplish little in reshaping Iran’s behavior. ++ Sanctions do have their place, but only within a context of a broader policy of engagement and pressure. ++ Continuing to rely on

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March 9, 2010 | Adding Teeth to Iran Sanctions

The Obama administration is currently working on new UN sanctions designed to cut off funding to Iranian nuclear and missile activities, as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s vast network of companies. ++ Chinese participation is a crucial component to any sanctions regime, yet so far, US overtures to Beijing to sign onto its sanctions campaign have been met with little success. ++

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February 16, 2010 | Iranian Sanctions Need to Bite Louder than their Bark

Ahmadinejad’s regime is unlikely to back down from its nuclear ambitions. ++ The Obama administration is taking steps to put pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions through the Treasury Dept., the State Dept., and Congress. ++ “France, among other European governments, has been talking tough about the need for sanctions that bite; a U.S.-backed gasoline embargo would put that resolve

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February 12, 2010 | Four Scenarios for Iran's Future

It is nearly impossible to predict what the future will hold for Iranian politics. Nevertheless, thinking through various conceivable scenarios does provide decision-makers with important cues as to possible future developments. Two variables are important in any assessment of plausible political developments in Iran: the strength of the regime and the potential for external conflicts, in

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February 4, 2010 | Realist Idealism in Iran

Iran’s well known nuclear ambitions prove American diplomatic engagement wrong. ++ There is a clear need for reconciliation between both realist and idealist approaches. ++ A balance can be reached by supporting the Green Revolution to ensure a democratically appeased regime on the one hand and by expressing solidarity instead of military commitment on the other hand. ++ Promoting ways to

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February 1, 2010 | Arms Race Replaces Détente in Iran

The United States boosts missile defence in Gulf States, sweeping away Obama’s renewed strategy towards Iran. ++ Washington’s foreign policy goes back to basics: military containment. ++ This move is also meant to deter Israel from taking any pre-emptive action. ++ Confidence is the final expected result, but it may not have the awaited outcome, for Iran is both a strong regional

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January 29, 2010 | Gulf States Remain Silent on Iran

As the world watches to see how the political crisis in Iran will play out, its neighbors in the have been silent on the matter. ++ “From the prism of Arab Gulf interests, there is no need to pick a side in this fight, especially when it is unclear who will win and whether it will make a difference.” ++ Arab states need to be more pro-active in shaping a stable outcome for Iran and its subsequent

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January 6, 2010 | Time To Act

The wait and see attitude of Europe and the US towards the Iranian revolt is morally unacceptable. ++ Ashton has yet to make a statement and Obama only last week called on the Iranian leadership to stop violating human rights. ++ Ashton’s lack of action based on a fear for harming business interests and Obama’s unsuccessful policy of engagement need to be reconsidered at this crucial phase of the

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December 17, 2009 | Iranian Leadership Does Not Fit the Soviet Cloth

Washington’s containment policy towards Iran is based on outdated Cold War logic. ++ The doctrine of mutually assured destruction does not work as even the most ardent hawks have doubts about US resolve to obliterate Iran in case of a nuclear attack. ++ Although many question whether Ahmadinejad would use a nuclear weapon, “no-one knows whose finger is on Iran’s nuclear trigger.” ++ Relying on

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December 16, 2009 | Focus On Iran's Green Movement

Ahmadinejad and Khamenei made a major misjudgement in assuming they would succeed in suppressing their people, if they would beat down hard enough. ++ The green movement has only become stronger over the past six months, with protesters even stamping on photos of the supreme leader. ++ Now it is up to Obama and western governments to start paying more attention to Iran’s green movement - whose

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December 14, 2009 | Watch Out For Dagan

Israel’s chief spy, Meir Dagan, has systematically reoriented the Mossad to focus on what he considers the greatest threat to the country: Iran. ++ Although Israel’s stance has caused no public rift with the US yet, if it were to attack Tehran unilaterally, that might well invite Iranian retaliation against US forces in the Middle East. ++ Dagan has succeeded in making the Mossad more aggressive,

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December 10, 2009 | "Iranian Solution Must Come from Within"

Although Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tries to rest the blame of the post-election domestic unrest on foreign powers, those protesting are not directing their chants at outsiders but at their own government. ++ Iran’s youth disillusionment with the regime can no longer be denied, with voices calling for political and social reform becoming louder. ++ Ahmadinjead and his coterie of hardliners are aware

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December 4, 2009 | "Iran Left Out in the Cold"

Apart from Pakistan, President Obama did not talk about the role of any other stakeholders in the region in his speech. ++ It was an unwise decision not to mention Iran, considering the role it has to play in tackling regional drug traffic. ++ Afghanistan’s narco-economy should be considered as important a problem as terrorism. ++ With the majority of the Afghan drug trade passing through Iran, a

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November 18, 2009 | Causing a Splash: Turkey in Tehran


Turkey’s motives are being questioned within the European Union over its growing connections with Iran. ++ Some argue that Ankara could further the Union’s policies concerning Iran’s nuclear capabilities, while others contend that Western efforts will be frustrated by “lessening that country’s sense of isolation.” ++ The West risks ruining its own relationship with Turkey over short-term

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November 6, 2009 | Morality First

The Obama administration needs to balance its approach towards Iran, by taking up its moral responsibilities. ++ Whilst the West has been placing the nuclear issue above all other concerns, Tehran has been establishing an “infrastructure for repression.” ++ Ahmadinejad only sporadically agrees to discuss the nuclear issue, to shift the attention from his regimes’ human rights abuses. ++ The US

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November 4, 2009 | The West's Double Standards for Iraq and Iran

Iraq’s approach of the French nuclear industry for help with the reconstruction of a reactor and its opening of discussions with the IAEA reveal the West’s double standards for Iran and Iraq. ++ In comparison with the West’s close monitoring of Iran’s every move, Iraq’s aspirations have provoked very little reaction. ++ This is remarkable as Security Council Resolution 707 forbids Iraq from

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October 23, 2009 | Engagement With Islamists Pays Off

Nuclear talks with Iran have progressed slowly but show that engagement is the best strategy. ++ Although Iran’s acquisition of advanced nuclear technology is inevitable, talks can assure that Iran’s program is brought under IAEA supervision. ++ Although “engagement may seem to play to the hand of Islamist foes in the short term, in the long run it guarantees the de-radicalisation of Islamist

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October 15, 2009 | Iran May Have Passed the Peak of its Power

It seems, Iran has reached the limits of its power. ++ In order to regain control over key institutions following the election disturbances, Ali Khamenei has lost popular support and legitimacy. ++ “To save his regime he has sacrificed its founding ideals, and in the process he has transformed Iran into yet another typical military dictatorship with a theocratic veneer.” ++ Although, it is not

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October 8, 2009 | US-Containment Policy is Main Hazard for Peace in the Middle East

The Obama administration’s middle east policy is largely unsuccessful due to its containment policy towards Iran. ++ The „US’ moves meant to contain the power of Iran, are the main stumbling block on the path to a US-brokered two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“ ++ In order to reach sustainable peace in the greater middle east, and particularly in Israel and

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August 28, 2009 | Iran's Regime Loses Ground

Although “the protesters have been routed from the streets of Tehran, the political turmoil in Iran continues unabated behind the scenes.” ++ The leaders authorities are challenged by a group of religious and secular elites. ++ It is doubtful that the regime will respond meaningfully to the Obama administration’s deadline to discuss the nuclear issue. ++ The biggest challenge for Washington is of

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August 21, 2009 | Afghan Elections: Let the Geopolitical Games Begin

At present, the power struggle in Kabul is reaching its apex. ++ After years of US hegemony, now, Russia, Iran and China push for influence in Afghanistan. ++ Both, Kabul and Washington depend on Moscow’s benevolence in terms of arms trade and NATO deployment. ++ Conversely, Iran aims to curb the US military threat. ++ “As for China…there are two imperatives: controlling a

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August 11, 2009 | Iran: Shame Trials Show Government's Insecurity

“The shame trials in Iran mask an insecure regime.” ++ Tehran’s actions must not be confused with an expression of Iran’s strength and confidence. ++ They are the leadership’s last opportunity to shift away the focus of the regime’s lack of legitimacy and authority by linking the domestic opposition to western interests. ++ But the Iranian people know their government and “they certainly

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August 3, 2009 | Iran is Ripe for Another Revolution

The Iranian regime’s legitimacy has been “irretrievably undone” by the summer’s election controversy. ++ “The current situation offers parallels with the political unrest leading up to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.” ++ Just as Carter’s election was seen as a threat to the monarchy’s external legitimacy, Obama’s non-confrontational approach makes it hard for this regime to play the defender of

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July 31, 2009 | US Politics of Engagement Will Not Succeed

President Obama’s engagement with US’ adversaries is failing. ++ North Korea and Iran responded to America’s politics of dialogue by testing nuclear weapons and commencing nuclear enrichment. ++ “Obama’s diplomatic hand has been extended for a while now…fists remain clenched.” ++ These oppressive regimes are internally too preoccupied to respond to US rapprochement.

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July 23, 2009 | US Should Support Iranian Opposition

Obama should continue to make clear that the United States stands with those seeking peaceful and democratic reform in Iran. ++ Although street demonstrations are fewer, Iran’s political crisis appears to be intensifying. ++ “Several of the Islamic Republic’s most senior leaders openly disputed the attempt by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, to end debate about last month’s

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July 9, 2009 | Europe Needs Missile Defense Against a Real Threat

Opponents of missile defense argue unpersuasively that “there is no near-term, long-range Iranian missile threat and the proposed US system could not defeat such a threat anyway.” ++ Yet Iran continues to buy crucial materials and make progress in their missile tests. ++ The US plan includes state-of-the-art radar and interceptors, and there is no reason to believe they would not work

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July 8, 2009 | Nonproliferation Needs Action, Not Words

While Russia and the US agree on nonproliferation, global proliferation rises. ++ China and Israel modernize their arsenal; developments in North Korea and Iran endanger world stability. ++ Iran’s nuclear ambitions risk a domino effect with countries at the nuclear doorstep, such as Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. ++ They must either invest in security ties with the US and missile defense

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July 8, 2009 | Israel's Sea of Enemies

Biden’s words giving Israel the green light for a military strike should Iran obtain nuclear capabilities caused public discomfort. ++ Yet anything less would be irresponsible: Jewish history taught Israel it cannot wait for the worst case scenario - realization of Ahmadinejad’s threat of a nuclear attack. ++ The West must give the checks and balances of Israeli democracy the respect they deserve

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July 7, 2009 | New and Old Media Strengthen Democracy Together

Recent events in Iran and China have demonstrated the impressive power
of the internet. Iranians used web communication technologies like Twitter to
spread reports and images of their protests worldwide, despite attempts at
government censorship. In China a massive online resistance was formed against
new filter software to be placed in all computers, one which would protect
children form

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July 6, 2009 | US Needs to Put its Own Interests First in Russia

President Obama’s visit to Moscow is supposed to foster “a more substantive relationship with Russia” - particularly on Iran’s atomic ambitions, Afghanistan and a replacement arms treaty - but Russia hardly looks “inclined to forge a partnership, except on its own terms.” ++ The US must remember its own aims - to expand freedom in Eurasia - and not pander to Putin.
++ President Obama’s

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June 29, 2009 | Iran Gives the US Another Chance at Israel Peace

The Obama Administration should use the upheaval in Iran to “creep away from the corner into which it has painted itself in the Arab-Israeli peace process” - that is, insisting on a total “freeze” in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and even
East Jerusalem. ++ This approach of “raising the stakes” even though Israel is making an effort is flawed because it is politically unnecessary. ++

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June 25, 2009 | Green Revolution Can Overthrow Iran's Oppressors

The only way to deal with Iran’s theocratic dictatorship is investing in renewable energy. ++ US President Barack Obama should enhance his efforts to end America’s reliance from Iranian fuel. ++ It is “the one thing we could do without firing a shot.” ++ Western economic sanctions would hit Tehran harder, if oil prices were low. ++ Iranian leaders would have to encourage their people to innovate

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June 24, 2009 | US Response Betrays Obama's Promised Principles

Obama’s caution vis-à-vis Iran betrays the promises he made in Berlin during his election campaign. ++ The excuse that his only choice is between feeding views that America is “meddling” or virtual silence is unfounded. ++ He should seek a global statement which condemns the violence and supports the protesters, uniting the diverse nations already speaking out. ++ Obama, you spoke of

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June 23, 2009 | Does Obama Lack Passion for Iran Conflict?

As the casualties from the protests in Iran begin to mount, critical voices have accused US President Barack Obama of being too soft and indifferent towards Tehran. ++ In spite of his tone getting tougher in regards to the escalating violence on Tehran’s streets, “Obama keeps avoiding open confrontation with Iran’s potentates.” ++ Tehran has a tendency to use any US statements against protesters.

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June 22, 2009 | Stopping Rogue States will Take More Than Words

“President Obama took office loudly promising to be the anti-George W. Bush of foreign policy,” but what he has received instead is “an education in the reality of global rogues, and how he responds has become a major test of his Presidency.” ++ The US is currently tracking a North Korean ship with suspected weapons towards Burma - will Mr Obama act to inspect the ship even though Pyongyang has

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June 19, 2009 | Is there a Zimbabwean Solution to the Iranian Crisis?

There are four potential scenarios that could come out of the Iranian crisis. ++ A revolution is unlikely: neither side favors a coup. ++ The regime must avoid a Tiananmen-like crackdown as that would ruin its legitimacy. ++ If the opposition remains strong, the status quo will be untenable and the election results must be re-evaluated. ++ Ayatollah Khamenai will be hoping for the “Zimbabwe

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June 18, 2009 | Iran Shifts to Ideological Military Dictatorship

Returned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has actually staged a creeping, silent coup, wresting control of Iran from the clerics and installing his military cohorts in their place. ++ Supreme Leader Khamenei shows strong support for the regime because he and the President - a former soldier - are dependent one each other to retain power. ++ Even the events after the election result seem

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June 15, 2009 | Iran's Anger Over Rigged Vote not to Fade Fast

The protests in Teheran following the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are the broadest since the 1979 revolution and include disaffected members of the revolutionary elite. ++ The leadership faces a crisis of authority. ++ The arrest of 110 reformist politicians has given “further credence to suggestions that more is afoot than simple election manipulation,” and that the

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June 12, 2009 | US' New Approach Could See Two-State Solution

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is concerned about US President Obama’s lack of attachment to Israel. ++ “Obama doesn’t fit in the pattern of former US presidents.” ++ “The thrust of his Middle East policy - reconciling the US with the Arab and Muslim world - clashes with Netanyahu’s strategy.” ++ Obama sees a vital link between an Israeli-Palestinian peace and the containment of the Iranian

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June 11, 2009 | Iran's Cleric-Sanctioned Vote Won't Lead to Change

Iranian religious leaders have suppressed efforts by any moderates to gain political power - culling all but four of the original 475 Presidential candidates for the elections. ++ President Ahmadinejad is favored to retain office, meaning social change in Iran is unlikely, even though “the majority of Iranians do not desire to live in a country that is regarded as an international pariah.” ++ But

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May 19, 2009 | Speaking Softly With Israel Risks a Catastrophe

Israel is determined to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb, even with military strike. ++ Such an act of preventive aggression would have disastrous consequences: it would end all Iranian hesitations to build a bomb; the Middle East would be in an uproar, with popular discontent also targeting the USA, ending Obama’s attempt at easing relations; and Israel’s popular support in the West would be

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May 18, 2009 | US Diplomacy Failure Risks Middle East War

If the US and Europe cannot peacefully convince Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons, Israel may consider using force - a move that could trigger a war worse than that in Iraq and make or break both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership and that of Barak Obama’s. ++ For the Israelis, Iran has become an unrivalled threat. ++ “Never before have the Israelis had to confront a rabidly

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May 5, 2009 | US Vaccuum Sees Iran in Power Play for Middle East

As the US retreats from the Middle East, Iran has a sophisticated, multi-level strategy to step in and take control of the region. ++ Iran-controlled groups and “front” companies have been caught actively destabilising six nations - all of whom are experiencing economic and/or political crises and are close allies of the US. ++ Lebanon could succumb first as Iran is spending “massive amounts of

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April 29, 2009 | Iranian President Considering Obama's Olive Branch

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have softened his stance on Israel after saying his country would recognize the State of Israel - if Palestine signed a two-state peace deal. ++ The Obama Administration has extended an olive branch and the jailing of an Iranian-American journalist on spy charges last week may have been a maneuver by the regime to manufacture a crisis in order to test

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April 28, 2009 | New US - Israel Relations Could Come at a Cost

US foreign policy shows a desire to critique Israel, exemplified by Clinton’s rebuke of Israel’s reluctance to move on the peace efforts. ++ This development will benefit both states: it shows a new assessment of US interests and an awareness that Israel’s interests have been hurt, not helped, by an uncritical US approach. ++ Pushing for new openings with regards to a Palestinian unity

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April 23, 2009 | Diplomacy Key to Finding Common Ground

Challenges facing the world offer President Obama a “moment of unique opportunity”. ++ Negotiations are being held with a number of countries on various strategic and political issues. ++ Action is required following this “concert diplomacy and this will only result out of shared convictions”. ++ Diplomatic processes with North Korea and Iran are ongoing, and their successful outcome will be

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April 23, 2009 | Don't Make Journalists Pawns in World Politics

Journalists can become embroiled in geopolitical conflict not of their own doing. ++ Iran
should overturn the conviction of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi if they “wish to earn the respect President Obama has accorded them in recent overtures”. ++ President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Saberi to be able to defend herself properly on appeal. ++ Should Saberi not be released, it

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April 17, 2009 | Iran's Nuclear Program Central to Middle East Peace

Ahead of US Middle East envoy George Mitchell’s visit to Israel, the issue of continuing Iranian uranium enrichment looms large. ++ Israelis want to see deadlines and performance based-milestones in place. ++ This issue is “emboldening this region’s extremists and cowing its moderates,” reducing the prospect for any successful resolution on matters relating to Palestine. ++ To improve the chances

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April 10, 2009 | Don't Focus Iranian Dialogue on Nuclear Issues

President Ahmadinejad saying that Iran “welcomes a hand extended to it should it really and truly be based on honesty, justice and respect” is a significant response to recent US overtures. ++ Iran has announced that its nuclear productive capacity had increased, and talks to persuade Iran to suspend its nuclear program are ongoing. ++ Iran sees its nuclear program as a vital sign of its

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April 2, 2009 | Nuclear Stress: From Iran to North Korea

The period between April 4-8 will be characterized by tension given North Korea’s plans to launch a rocket and the suspicion that it might be a long range missile. ++ The US spoke of a defensive response if the rocket heads towards the US. ++ Yesterday’s meeting between President Obama and Hu Jintao could be crucial given China’s role as North Korea’s main oil supplier.

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March 30, 2009 | Beware of the Bear!

The approaching G20 will also be the first meeting between President Medvedev and President Obama. ++ Recently, the US has shown increased willingness to reconstruct their relations with the Kremlin whose cooperation is much needed on the Afghan and Iraqi Dossiers. ++ Yet, the US ought to move with care; Russia is not only eager to maintain influence in its “near abroad,” in addition “Moscow also

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March 26, 2009 | A New Dawn for Arab Unity?

The Arab League’s annual meeting could mark the beginning of a new chapter in Arab unity as the Iranian threat brings Arab states closer. ++ But regional politics might point in a different direction as a “Cold War” is being waged: the “muddled and divided Arab response to the Israeli assault on Gaza” made this a profound reality. ++ Those seeing Doha as a potential

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March 24, 2009 | Iran and US Share Their First Words

Obama used television to address the people and government of Iran. ++ The President invited Iran into the “community of nations” but reminded them that rights come with responsibilities. ++ Iran replied by saying that actions speak louder than words. ++ Given a tempestuous bilateral relation such words are unlikely to make a breakthrough. ++ Obama can foster some diplomatic ties by

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March 20, 2009 | Iran Should Imitate the EU

It is silly to think that Mr Ahmadinejad is not aware of the enormity of reprisals to which he would be exposed should he attack Israel. ++ Thus, it is by no means excludable that the sole reason behind Iran’s insistence to continue its nuclear program is to be regarded as an equal partner. ++ After all, several countries such as France or Israel went through the same logic. ++ Yet, reproducing

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March 17, 2009 | Iran Elections Stir Concern

The upcoming Arab summit is causing a lot of diplomatic activity in the Middle East. ++ Three Gulf states have warned Qatar that if Iran attends the meeting their representation will weaken, which marks a shift from the usual “fearful” attitudes towards Iran. ++ The Arab world is holding its breath as the upcoming presidential election in Iran creates hope for reform. ++ Israel is

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March 6, 2009 | A Fair Bargain Will Make Tehran Cooperate

Changing tone does not suffice, the US ought to consider Iran as a truly equal partner to reset the relationship with Tehran: “In Iran there is no willingness to co-operate with the US without being paid back,” as happened in the past. ++ Mr Biden’s message in Munich has not been welcomed on the Iranian side and was perceived in other words, as a continuation of Bush’s carrot and stick approach.

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March 5, 2009 | Obama Sets Out to Make New Friends

Obama decided to send two high level US officials to visit Syria and participate in “preliminary conversations.” ++ The decision is a complete shift from the Bush attitude. ++ It comes as a pleasant surprise to those who believe that the US should support Syria-Israel talks and use it as a stabilizer in the region, luring Syria away from Iran and into American arms. ++ Syria is also

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March 5, 2009 | Don't Criticize the President, He Knows Better

The small glimpse of hope of potential Russian-US cooperation on curtailing Iran’s nuclear plans disappeared after an unsuccessful meeting between Russia and the US. ++ Obama stated that Russia would not determine America’s missile defense plans. ++ Although a setback, the statement is not without purpose; if not said Russia would have achieved its aim of creating a wedge between

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March 4, 2009 | Iran: Who Should Obama Talk With and When?

President Obama must decide whether to wait until after the upcoming elections before engaging in dialogue with Iran. ++ Further development of the Iranian nuclear program may speed up talks. ++ Constant and continual dialogue may be the best step forward for both parties. ++ In order to achieve long term success, a communication channel needs to be established to exchange confidential

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March 3, 2009 | Economic Crisis More Dangerous Than Terrorism

In his State
of The Union Address
in January 2002, George W. Bush warned us of the infamous “Axis of
Evil.” Iran, North Korea and Iraq were accused of harboring
terrorists, building weapons of mass destruction and threatening world peace.
Seven years later, President Obama is confronted with another similarly grave
“Axis.” This time, however, it is not linked to terrorism or weapons
of

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March 2, 2009 | Iran Must Be Viewed as a Multi-Ethnic Society

The reported plight of Jews in Iran has provoked consternation amongst academics in this area.++ Comparisons with totalitarian regimes such as that of Nazi Germany are not accurate.++ Today’s Iran is an open society with access to international news, and the upcoming elections will be fair and open.++ Life for Jews in Iran may be more difficult than that of Muslims, but society is relatively

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February 25, 2009 | West, Stuborness Doesn't Pay Off!

Albeit at a slow pace, Iran is proceeding with its uranium enrichment program. ++ Unless the West completely reconsiders its diplomacy tactic vis à vis Iran, it is difficult to imagine a changed scenario: “years have been lost to ineffective approaches.” ++ Obama’s initiative to have direct negotiations with Tehran should have been opted for earlier. ++ An alluring option could be

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February 24, 2009 | Don't Rush to Bash Iran

The IAEA caused fury when it revealed that it had underestimated the percentage of enriched uranium in Iran. ++ Exaggerated Western media reports coupled with alarming comments about Iran’s closeness to the bomb from “anonymous” IAEA officials presented a dire situation. ++ While the report seems to threaten Obama’s new policy of gradual engagement, the Western media

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February 23, 2009 | The Paradox of Jews Living in Peace in Iran

There are many paradoxes that characterize Iran, and here comes another one. ++ The Iranian-Jewish community lives in peace in Iran and Iranian tolerance towards the community reveals a lot about “its sophistication and culture.” ++ The community keeps in touch with its Jewish roots but at the same time criticizes Israeli atrocities — such as Gaza — and complains about the

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February 19, 2009 | Khamenei Holds The Keys to Iran's Future

Whilst he does not possess absolute authority, on Iran’s political stage nothing can be done without the green light of Ayatollah Khamenei: “he can no more be bypassed than the Great Recession.” ++ The relevance for the US is that dealing with Tehran begins with dealing with this “supreme leader.” ++ Obama must promise Khamenei that the US has discarded its goal of regime change, his worst

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February 16, 2009 | Iran: Between Islam and Modernity

From the Alborz Mountains one catches sight of Tehran, a world apart in terms of political and religious liberties. ++ In the mountains “everything” is permitted, and several young people flee there to escape the physical and mental repression of the metropolis. ++ Change will eventually spill over into the entire country; it is just a matter of time. ++ The West has a part to play to

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February 13, 2009 | Revolution in the Middle East In Process

When the Iranian Revolution exploded 30 years ago the world entered a state of shock. ++ Was it really that unpredictable? ++ Behind the superficial tranquility, popular discontent deriving from corruption and despotism of the Shah regime was prominent. ++ Yet, blinded by its self interest, the West failed to see it coming. ++ There is a terrifying parallel between pre-revolutionary Iran and

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February 13, 2009 | The Birth of Democracy in Iraq

The success of the Iraqi election shot down Washington’s contention that democracy in Iraq was a fantasy and provided stark contrast to the post-Saddam days when “the only communal or social ties […] were those of ethnicity and sect.” ++ In contrast to the last 6 years, Iraq now has a free press, political competition and secular politics which favor the US and leave Iran standing

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February 11, 2009 | Obama Lays Down Demands For Germany

The Munich Security Conference revealed to Germany the price it will have to pay if it wants to be America’s dear friend: increased troop deployment in Afghanistan and a preparedness to stand by the US if Iran remains uncooperative. ++ But while the US is extending the hand of cooperation to Germany, the latter seems nostalgic for the “era before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

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February 10, 2009 | "Iran's New Satellite Challenges China"

Iran celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Republic by launching a satellite (Omid) into space. ++ While the world over criticized this move, China’s awkward silence has been stirring suspicion. ++ Let’s not forget that Iran participated in the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization and that the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corp has been punished by the US for selling

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February 9, 2009 | Do Not Confront Iran

The upcoming Iranian election is a critical one: the big question is whether the new president will seek to normalize relations with the West. ++ The former reformist President Khatami disappointed reform aspirations and the current president is criticized for his economic policy but his popularity is thriving. ++ America should avoid aggressive confrontation. ++ “Given that Ahmadinejad

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February 6, 2009 | In Munich, Testosterone Rules the World

The Munich Conference on Security Policy needs renewal. ++ In 2007 Putin declared the end of unipolarity here. ++ This year NATO seeks discreet dialog with Russia, but the focus will be on the seating of US and Iranian delegations. ++ The first contact between them for three decades may take place over dinner. ++ “You only see old men there,” says a female NATO diplomat. ++ The conference

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February 5, 2009 | A Herculean Task: Middle East Policy for the New US President

There is much more to the Middle East than Iraq, and US foreign policy must quickly widen its foreign policy focus in the region. A successful Middle East policy strategy must simultaneously address Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as renew diplomacy throughout the region. The Obama administration is advised to act immediately, appointing special envoys and beginning a

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February 4, 2009 | America's Worst Nightmare Coming True

Improving relations with Iran might not be as smooth as expected for Obama. ++ Under Russia’s new security strategy, to be adopted end of February, Russia is on the way to making Iran its new strategic partner. ++ An increase in the number of nuclear engineers being sent to Tehran to work with Iranians is one of several indicators of the rapprochement. ++ This may well remove any incentive for

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February 3, 2009 | Pushing Iran Away

The success of the election in Iraq last Saturday rewards American efforts. ++ But it also weakens “Tehran’s hand” in Iraq as voter turnout was composed of a healthy mixture of Shiite and Sunni Iraqis, making way for the possibility of creating a balanced Iraqi Parliament and creating hope that Shiites will start looking to Baghdad rather than Tehran for political cues. ++

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January 30, 2009 | The Realities of Nuclear Disarmament

Under Pres. Bush non proliferation efforts suffered a devastating blow: he did after all exit the ABM, ignored the NPT and saw the whole issue as anachronistic. ++ The result has been nuclear testing from North Korea and further proliferation in Iran. ++ The new President seems determined to restore non proliferation to its rightful place and has so far acted on his words. ++ But, for this

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January 30, 2009 | Obama Must Maintain Flexibility With Iran

It is crucial that Obama stays true to his promise of a fresh approach towards Iran, as the country wields significant influence over the wider Middle East region. ++ Persuading Iran to end its uranium enrichment program through dialog should begin as soon as possible. ++ Some important foundations for transparent democracy are in place, despite the country’s theocratic rule: the sizable body

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January 15, 2009 | BBC Provides Persian TV Channel

Although TV makes little positive contribution to anything, the BBC’s Persian TV channel, which aims to provide Iranian viewers with objective international news, deserves nothing but praise. ++ Running the channel is not easy, given the obstacles posed domestically both from the Iranian government and from myths of manipulation by the British government. ++ If the channel runs

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January 14, 2009 | The Economic Crisis Advances Democracy Globally

The Great Depression hindered the democratic progress; the current crisis could advance it. ++ Authoritarian countries like China, Russia, Venezuela and Iran will suffer more than democratic competitors. ++ Political legitimacy based on “delivering the economic goods” is weaker than one based on political freedom and the capacity to change governments without changing regime. ++ Democracies may

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December 11, 2008 | The Middle East: A Bastion of Hope

The Middle East has been revamped since 2001. ++ Iraq has been transformed from an enemy to a friend; “from a brutal dictatorship to a multi-religious, multi-ethnic constitutional democracy” and can no longer pursue its nuclear arms race with Iran. ++ The Lebanese are free from the yoke of Syrian oppression and now enjoy the fruits of the Cedar Revolution. ++ Challenges still exist,

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November 28, 2008 | Why Germany Loves Iran

Yesterday, German entrepreneurs met to discuss how to intensify business with Iran. ++ Bank Melli’s connection to Tehran’s nuclear program has given the EU reason to freeze assets of Iran’s largest bank, but Germany refuses to go “beyond the relatively soft UN trade restrictions.” ++ In view of rising exports, Germany has become the largest European exporter to Iran.

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November 26, 2008 | Syrian-Isreali Peace is the Key to Success

Instead of focusing on an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, Obama should invest in Israeli-Syrian negotiations. ++ Talks between Syria and Israel will focus on “withdrawal, peace, security and water - and the gaps are clear and ready to be bridged.” ++ Cementing such a deal would restructure the whole region in favor of US interests, giving Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran less options.

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November 20, 2008 | "Three Options for Obama to Engage Iran"

President-elect Obama has repeatedly stated that he is willing to open talks with Tehran. ++ Obama will continue to contain Iran through multilateral mechanisms as well as greater coordination with Arab allies, should Tehran decide to reject US overtures. ++ There are three options in dealing with Iran. ++ Obama could limit Iran’s engagement to issues of common interest, start a

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November 18, 2008 | Hard Road Ahead for Obama

Obama is going to have a very hard time fulfilling his campaign promises. ++ The heavy financial burden of the market bailout will slow his progress, especially since his tax policy proposals don’t seem to even cover his planned health-care reforms. ++ Obama’s preference for negotiation and economic sanctions might not get results with Iran and N. Korea and Israel’s upcoming

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November 17, 2008 | Saving Afghanistan Even Means Talking to Enemies

Seven years after the advent of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban, al- Qaeda and various insurgents have regained strength particularly on Afghan and Pakistani soil. The fight for
security in the Middle East has spiralled downward as the Taliban have “established a new “safe haven” in Pakistan. Serious efforts to build a transparent, secure Afghan state with an intact justice system will

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November 12, 2008 | Restoring US-Iranian Relations

President Bush will take a first step toward restoring diplomatic relations with Iran by establishing a diplomatic office. ++ The US understands that going to war with Iran would be fatal. ++ Unlike the US, “Iran never tried to overthrow a US government. Iran never invaded America’s neighbors. Iran never stationed aircraft carriers off the US coast.” ++ Dialogue will change the

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November 10, 2008 | Iraq: Bon Voyage?

By the end of this year the UN mandate allowing US troops to operate in Iraq will expire. ++ Both countries have agreed to a US withdrawal and G. W. Bush has announced that troops will leave by 2011, “leaving only military trainers and air traffic controllers behind.” ++ The US should ask for an extension of its mandate and American troops should keep operating until a final agreement

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November 6, 2008 | War on Terror is Over

Obama must fulfill his promises of withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and those of diplomacy with Iran. ++ He must close Guantánamo and declare the war on terror is over, realizing that terrorism is a technique, not an ideology. ++ Talks, not air strikes, should take place in Afghanistan. ++ Obama’s plan for “residual forces” in Iraq should be abandoned for a total

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October 31, 2008 | Falling Oil Prices - Key to Negotiations with Iran

The dramatic fall in oil prices could be the key to Iranian willingness to negotiate about their nuclear program. ++ Despite economic sanctions, Iran has managed to compensate for this financial hindrance via high oil prices, but current trends will intensify sanctions. ++ “30 percent inflation and 11 percent unemployment” will contribute to the oil price crisis – threatening

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October 30, 2008 | Old Bush/Cheney Tricks in Syria

US interests, and its allies, were dealt a severe blow when US commandos attacked an alleged Al Qaeda operative in Syria, killing seven civilians. ++ The risks of such an attack include “sabotaging Israeli-Syrian peace talks, reversing the trend of Syrian cooperation in Iraq and Lebanon, and playing into the hands of Iran,” which undoubtedly outweigh any “fleeting tactical

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October 27, 2008 | Obama and the Sunset of US Power in the Middle East

Aside from the mystical fluke that Barack Obama’s name fulfils a Shiite Muslim prophesy of the “End of Times,” his proposed talks with Iran are also seen by many there “as a sign that the US is ready to admit defeat.” ++ Khomeinist officials prefer Obama especially because Biden supported their revolution and has voted against sanctioning Iran. ++ Obama’s

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October 23, 2008 | US Must Rethink its Approach to Iran

The financial crisis has dominated the US election campaign, marginalizing foreign policy. ++ But it is foreign relations, and especially ties with Iran, that will be at the top of the next president’s agenda. ++ This is not only about Iran’s nuclear capacity; stability of Iraq and Afghanistan, peace in Lebanon and ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are all inconceivable without

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October 22, 2008 | Status-of-Forces Agreement Looms Large

With the status-of-forces agreement at an impasse, policy makers are unnerved by the ominous signs in Iraq. ++ If an agreement is not reached by December 31, US troops will have to return to their bases; “Without legal authority to operate, we do not operate.” ++ Recent gains in Iraq were predicated on US security guarantees - without them, “tensions are returning with a vengeance.” ++ Kurds,

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October 20, 2008 | Banking Crisis Will Erode US Geopolitical Hegemony

It is clear that it was the free-market fundamentalism and reckless stewardship of the US government that led to the current financial crisis. ++ The US will pay a high price for its sins. ++ The bailout, which is likely to end up costing more than the Iraq war, will not only erode US financial hegemony, but undermine its geopolitical domination as well. ++ Financial troubles will prompt American

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October 17, 2008 | Next US President Will Determine Iran's Elections

In addition to the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the economy, the choice of the next Iranian president will be determined by this year’s US presidential election. ++ Iranians are afraid of an American or Israeli military strike. ++ Knowing that McCain endorses military options, Iranians might tend to reelect Ahmadinejad in the case that McCain becomes the next president. ++

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October 13, 2008 | Russia Strengthens Iran's Hand

Recent developments have greatly reduced the chances of a war against Iran. ++ Washington had planned to conduct air strikes against Iran from Georgian soil. ++ Russian intervention makes it impossible, which has “strengthened Iran’s hand.” ++ Russia undermined US efforts to impose new sanctions against Tehran during the Security Council’s meeting last month. ++ The fact

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October 10, 2008 | Next Steps in Dealing With Iran

Iran is at most four years away from its nuclear goals - diplomacy is needed. ++ Russia’s offer to provide Iran with enriched nuclear material and US proposals for direct talks in return for the abandonment of nuclear intentions have been turned down. ++ The disapproval of further offers might result in the total isolation of Iran. ++ Using military force is only credible if Iran “can

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October 7, 2008 | "Israel and Iran Have Much in Common"

On Israel’s 60th anniversary and the Islamic revolution’s 30th, both countries are actually more similar than one may think. ++ Israel fears a loss of power from shifting demographics, and similarly Iranian conservatives fear losing power to supporters of former president Mohammad Khatami. ++ Both countries also feel isolated: Israel, a Jewish state in an Arab region, and Iran, a Shiite state

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October 6, 2008 | McCain Strong, Obama Weak

Osama Bin Laden called Iraq the “central front” in his fight against the US - he was right. ++ Obama/Biden only focus on the past; they still think invading Iraq was a mistake, a distraction from Afghanistan. ++ Their obsession misses the point: “The essence of being a good commander in chief is appreciating the connections among these theaters.” ++ FDR fought the Nazi’s before assailing Japan,

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September 30, 2008 | "Putin of Arabia"

A petro-emboldened Russia is becoming resurgent in the Middle East. ++ With US power waning, Russia is seeking to fill the vacuum. ++ And they’re being well-received, as “autocratic and wealth-loving Russians” have more in common with the conservative majority of the region than “the US, with its pop culture and liberal democracy.” ++ Russia’s desire for a bloc

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September 25, 2008 | Iran Plays up Its Card as a Peacemaker

Ban Ki-moon lauded Tehran’s mediating role in the Caucasus, which surely is music to the ears’ of Iran’s president. ++ Ahmadinejad adopted the language of post-hegemony and portrayed Iran as the leader of a new global alliance for peace and, thereby, as an alternative to the US. ++ Some developing countries’ diplomats appreciate Tehran’s criticism of NATO’s role in Georgia and Afghanistan. ++ The

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September 24, 2008 | Iran Slips Away - Again

Even if Iran is currently racing toward accumulating enough uranium for a bomb, the financial crisis has reduced the sense of urgency in the US. ++ The UN Security Council and Germany will meet this week, but it’s unlikely that they will agree on any effective sanctions such as an arms embargo. ++ Only symbolic actions to further Iran’s diplomatic isolation are realistic. ++ Of course, the

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September 23, 2008 | Welcoming India to the Nuclear Club

India and the US are celebrating their new nuclear deal this week. ++ Critics fear an unraveling of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. ++ Notwithstanding, India will be one of the great world powers and there is an unfortunate, yet undeniable link between power and nuclear weapons. ++ Although it may be hypocritical to permit India and sanction Iran, India is a status quo power and a settled

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September 22, 2008 | EU Should Say No to Syria

The EU’s plan to reward Syria with an “Association Agreement” is worrisome for several reasons. ++ Damascus not only sponsors Hezbollah and Hamas, it also follows Iran’s approach to nuclear weapons in spite of its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. ++ “European leaders should cease all further action toward an Association Agreement.” ++ If the EU ignores the lesson of inaction,

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September 18, 2008 | US Sanctions on Iran Backfiring

US sanctions on Iran have caused an influx of Iranian trade with nearby Dubai. ++ Visits to the UAE by US officials have resulted in drastically fewer business licenses for Iranians there. ++ This policy has hurt many Iranians who are at odds with their government; “it is affecting only the people, not the government sector.” ++ US officials hope Iranians will place the blame on their own

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September 11, 2008 | Do Not Ask If but When Israel Strikes Iran

Israel is known for not tolerating a deadly threat, and so it is only a matter of time before it strikes Iran. ++ The international community failed to pressure Iran, as it did not block the Strait of Hormuz thereby harming Iran’s oil-based economy. ++ This option would have had a negative impact on the oil market in the short run, but could have averted a new war. ++ The outcome of the elections

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September 10, 2008 | Dubai Balances Iranian and American Ties

Dubai seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place: Iran and the US. ++ Recently Dubai has served as a critical trading partner allowing Iran to circumnavigate sanctions imposed by the US. ++ Dubai re-exports many goods it receives from the US to Iran, including computer circuitry that was used in IEDs in Iraq against American forces. ++ With Iran refusing to halt its nuclear program, Dubai

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September 9, 2008 | Bringing Iran Into the Nuclear Fold

Despite negotiations with the EU and sanctions from the US, the ultimate purpose of Iran’s nuclear facilities remains unclear. ++ A closer relationship is needed to monitor Iran’s nuclear activity. ++ This relationship should be business oriented, allowing Iran to develop its nuclear energy capabilities, which would in turn be purchased by clients such as the US, France, and Russia. ++

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August 29, 2008 | Biden's Diplomatic Approach is Only Hope for Iran

If Obama is elected, a VP Joe Biden will likely mean positive developments for troubled US-Iran relations. ++ Biden’s experiences with Iranian diplomacy legitimize Obama’s call for direct contact with Tehran. ++ However, Biden’s plans to negotiate with Iran may cost Obama some Jewish votes and Biden may have to give in to a more hawkish stance. ++ But Biden’s more conciliatory approach toward

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August 28, 2008 | Palestinians Should Challenge Hamas, not Israel

It is the Hamas’s illegitimate rule that prevents progress between Israel and the Palestinians, not Israel itself. ++ However, Palestinian protesters stick to the anti-Israel dogma and do not question the extremists’ destructiveness even though they need to ask Israel more and more often for help. ++ Therefore, “it is time to realize that bashing Israel will not build Palestine.” ++

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August 22, 2008 | An Attack on Iran Would Backfire

A strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, whether by the US or Israel, is a disastrous idea. ++ If Iran is attacked oil prices may rise to $200 a barrel which would be a hard hit for the global economy. ++ Iranian nuclear facilities are too widely dispersed to be fully destroyed by warplanes, which means an attack would only delay the progress towards getting a bomb; it is also likely to harden

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August 20, 2008 | Arab States must Integrate Iraq

There is a trend among Sunni Arab states to revitalize diplomatic ties with Iraq. ++ The growing Shia influence backed by Iran may have alarmed them. ++ But instead of pressuring the US to ensure the Sunni’s reinsertion into Iraqi politics, Arab officials now try to integrate Iraq’s Shia government back into “the Arab fold.” ++ Unfortunately, the efforts can not be successful if Saudi-Arabia

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August 19, 2008 | "The Russo-Iranian Axis"

Two of the EU’s key assumptions towards Russia have been proven wrong: firstly, Russia obviously does not share the Western values and secondly, Russia does not oppose Iran going nuclear. ++ Moscow can assume that a nuclear Iran will hurt Western interests more than Russian and will shape balance of power favorably for Russia. ++ Yet, there is still a chance for the EU to pressure Iran through

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August 18, 2008 | Iran Gambles with Russia-Georgia Conflict

Iran remains mute on Georgia crisis. ++ US-Russia rift could spoil Iran Six negotiations; or increase Russia’s engagement. ++ Historical ties to Georgia and more recent fears of Russian aggressiveness should lead Iran to condemn this violation of Georgian sovereignty. ++ Tehran needs to act as an impartial mediator. ++ An adverse effect on Russian-Iranian relations has to be risked. ++ Post-9/11

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August 14, 2008 | Flip-flopping on Iran Encourages Deception

Now that the Bush administration has reneged on its hard line against negotiations, Iran does not take US ultimatums seriously. ++ Where progressives see flexibility, Iranian officials see weakness.++ As long as there are no sanctions, Iran could import all the technology they need throughout negotiations. ++ Diplomacy with an insincere opponent does more harm than good. ++ With its diplomatic

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August 4, 2008 | Bombing Iran Would be a Catastrophe for All of Us

His presidency coming to an end, Bush becomes obsessed with his legacy and solving the issue of nuclear Iran is foremost in his mind. ++ If he decides to support Israel in its possible attack on Iran, the economic and political costs would be disastrous: oil prices would soar, terrorist attacks worldwide would follow, and the possibility of any dialogue between Iran and the West would be ruined

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July 30, 2008 | No Need to Fear Iran

US government has a tendency to “squash mosquitoes with TNT,” which shows in its treatment of Iran. ++ There’s no need to fear Iran: Ahamadinejad is only a figurehead putting on a show of might to gain respect in the Muslim world; the real power is in the hands of religious leaders, many of whom are sympathetic to the West. ++ The fact that Americans don’t see that reveals they

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July 30, 2008 | "Responsible" Nuclear Ownership is a Fiction

The permanent members of the UN security council condemn Iran, but they are just as guilty of nuclear proliferation. ++ The distinction between their supposedly “responsible” ownership of nuclear weapons and that of Iran, North Korea or Pakistan is entirely arbitrary: US, Russia, UK, and France refuse to disarm and have all declared they would be prepared to use their nuclear arsenal against a

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July 28, 2008 | Israel is Likely to Follow US Lead on Iran

Israel faces a dilemma: If European diplomacy fails to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program and Americans prove reluctant to launch another war in the Middle East under Bush, should Israel strike alone? ++ An attack could dangerously unite Iranians behind their president and influence the presidential race in the US. ++ But Israeli leaders believe in an emergency - estimates suggest Iran could

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July 22, 2008 | Iran Hasn't Earned a Détente

The Bush administration has recently shifted its approach toward Iran and is treating it with unjustified leniency: the possibility of reopening a diplomatic mission in Tehran and face-to-face meetings are gestures Iran hasn’t earned. ++ Tehran continues with its uranium enrichment program, tests missiles capable of reaching Europe, sponsors terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza and

... More

July 21, 2008 | US Attempts to Defrost Ties With Tehran

Thirty years after cutting off diplomatic ties, the US is planning the establishment of a modest diplomatic representation in Tehran for which it appears to have secured Iranian approval. ++ Though this shift from previous hard-line policies toward Tehran may essentially be an effort on Bush’s behalf to “leave a ‘positive legacy’ behind,” he is thereby also hinting at US engagement to a

... More

July 15, 2008 | US Should Help Israel if it Strikes Iran

The situation in the Middle East is past the point when sanctions and diplomatic talks can still make a difference. ++ The Islamic Republic is not going to yield, it is simply playing for time while trying to produce deliverable nuclear weapons. ++ Instead of insisting on the measures which apparently do not work, the US should consider helping Israel if it decides to strike Iran or at least not

... More

July 11, 2008 | Demonizing Iran Does Not Serve the West

The West is more concerned about who proliferates than whether someone degradates the Non-Proliferation Treaty. ++ A manageable relationship with Iran requires understanding its world view and equally and respectfully acknowledging its interests. ++ Security rewards should replace sanctions: Israel could for instance be warned “that any unilateral attack on Iran would force the US to reconsider

... More

July 10, 2008 | Scope of US Foreign Policy Must be Widened

Since the Cold War, US foreign policy has struggled to find a “main enemy,” thereby defining its focus. ++ Global politics, however, have returned to a status quo, in which a broad range of problems, with long-term resilience and requiring non-ideological responses, will be better served with America’s continuing strategic advantage on most fronts. ++ On a non-governmental

... More

July 10, 2008 | Iran's Hard-and-Soft Foreign Policy

Iranian diplomacy reflects pride, self-confidence, and a decreasing fear of the US and Israel. ++ Whereas Tehran’s hard-liners are using the argument of Western weakness to justify their rejection of compromise, pragmatic voices believe it is time for Iran to negotiate and “consolidate its gains.” ++ At present, Iran’s course is unclear: “even as they talk about diplomacy, the Iranians continue

... More

July 9, 2008 | Learning our Lessons From North Korea for Iran

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” ++ The US must heed the lessons learned from North Korea in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. ++ Had Bush agreed to a dialogue years before Pyongyang’s test explosion in 2006, the US would be negotiating in a position of strength, not weakness. ++ Nations concerned with global security

... More

July 9, 2008 | US-India Nuclear Pact is Back on the Table

The US-India nuclear pact, declared “almost certainly dead” last month, will probably be signed by the Indian government after all. ++ The onus of getting it implemented is therefore back on the US. ++ Congress must stop pressuring India into backing US policy on Iran. ++ India shouldn’t have to choose between good relations with itself and Tehran. ++ PM Manmohan Singh will not agree to toe

... More

July 8, 2008 | Global Nonpolarity: A New World Order

Globalization means that international affairs no longer occur in a bipolar, unipolar, or even multipolar world, but rather “under conditions of nonpolarity.” ++ In this nonpolar world, coordination between actors is increasingly difficult, and agreements are rarely reached. ++ The problem of Iran, currently Israel’s top concern, will unlikely motivate the international community to act in

... More

July 1, 2008 | Israel Threatens to Attack Iran

Israeli government claims the extent of the Iranian threat is being underplayed and that no diplomatic pressure can prevent Iranians getting nuclear weapons. ++ Shaul Mofaz, member of Israel’s security cabinet, announced last week that “attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.” ++ Despite Israel’s skepticism, the only solution is diplomacy and sanctions. ++ Present

... More

June 30, 2008 | Talking to Teheran

“A US willingness to talk to Iran on the full range of issues dividing the two countries offers the best hope of rescuing a failed policy.” ++ If the US does not negotiate with Iran as proposed by Obama, they will be lacking options besides attacking Iran. ++ The Europeans, Russia, and China are already in dialogue with Teheran. ++ After coordinating with the Europeans, the US should start

... More

June 26, 2008 | West Must Prevent Israel Attacking Iran

Despite positive developments between Israel and many of its adjacent neighbors, the increasing frequency with which Israel speaks of attacking Iran must not be ignored by the West. ++ Israel either truly plans to attack and “is preparing the ground, militarily and politically,” or it is trying to “spur the rest of the world into action.” ++ The West must act now, before Israel does anything that

... More

June 25, 2008 | India's Reluctance to US Nuclear Deal is Disarming

India’s domestic political squabbles are hindering its nuclear program with the US. ++ Afraid that scrupulous international monitoring would undermine India’s traditionally independent foreign policy, the Communist component of the current coalition is blocking a final endorsement. ++ Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are baffled, as this deal is nothing but advantageous. ++

... More

June 25, 2008 | Relations With Iran Coming to a Head

Britain’s foreign secretary argues that if the new “dual-track approach” regarding Iran’s nuclear aspirations fails, it is the Iranian’s own fault. ++ Convinced that the region and the world need a cooperative, sanction-free Iran, the West is offering generous incentives, including assistance for a civilian-based nuclear energy program, in return for Iran’s

... More

June 23, 2008 | India Foresees Collective Security in the Middle East

Coercive diplomacy is America’s only remaining option as its influence declines in the Middle East. ++ Especially in the case of an Obama presidency, this “changed constellation” in the region calls for India to readjust its strategy. ++ India needs to balance Israel and Syria, and constructively engage Iran. ++ Like China, India should acknowledge the region’s importance for its own energy

... More

June 17, 2008 | Iraq Starts to Fix Itself

Albeit reversible, the situation is improving in Iraq as the government gains confidence and increasingly asserts its independence from the US and Iran. ++ Despite the lack of jobs, clean water, and electricity, Iraqis are benefiting from high oil prices and can hope for a normal future. ++ Both plans for precipitated withdrawal and remaining indefinitely are foolish. ++ Swift diplomacy is now

... More

June 16, 2008 | Prime Minister Maliki's Misery

Al-Maliki wants good relations both with Iran and with the US but ongoing tensions between the two are putting him in a difficult position. ++ The Iraqi Prime Minister cannot afford to ruffle Iran’s feathers because of the large Shia majority in Iraq, which is loyal to Tehran, but Iraq also needs Western help. ++ The UN mandate for Iraq ends on December 31, 2008, and Iran has tried hard to

... More

June 11, 2008 | Bush Helps Saudis Go Nuclear, Who are we Securing?

Bush is moving toward helping the Saudis develop a nuclear program under the guise of energy security. ++ Considering that Saudi Arabia bathes in oil and basks in sunlight, something is missing. ++ Adding a counterweight to Iran’s nuclear aspirations is what this is actually about. ++ The US should heed the lessons of history, that its addiction to oil spreads extremism and that adding nuclear

... More

June 11, 2008 | Upholding Sanctions Against Military Action

Attacking Iran would be disastrous, many civilians would die, the nuclear program would subsist, and Israel’s involvement would create a serious backlash in the region. ++ Iran’s threats toward Israel give reason for concern but sanctions and diplomatic incentives - both endorsed by Obama and McCain - should be favored over military action. ++ If the UN does not authorize applying punitive

... More

June 10, 2008 | Bush and Olmert Exploit the Iranian Threat

Bush and Olmert’s allusions to war with Iran are the result of their foreign and domestic policy predicaments. ++ Both leaders need to create a diversion to save themselves politically, and “if either - or both - should order a military strike against Iran, it will not be because Iran has done anything that could seriously threaten either Israel or the US.” ++ Since Iran has thus far remained a

... More

June 9, 2008 | Europe: Trapped Between Washington and Tehran?

Europe is playing a dangerous game with Iran. ++ Supporting US-endorsed sanctions while simultaneously maintaining business ties with Iran has resulted in a “schizophrenic policy.” ++ While the US sees a nuclear Iran as absolutely unacceptable, many Europeans’ worst nightmare instead is a US or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. ++ “Europe’s new leaders may speak loudly, but they still

... More

June 4, 2008 | Russia Must Join a Boycott of Iran

Since economic sanctions are the best means to cause unrest among the Iranian population, they are also the most effective tool to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. ++ However, Russia needs to be on board. ++ The Western offer to the Kremlin should be impossible to refuse, and must compensate for what Russia currently gains by dealing with Iran. ++ Russia will join the boycott if the

... More

May 30, 2008 | Iran's Cooperation is Crucial in Iraq

The current propaganda campaign against Iran is similar to that against Iraq before the US-led invasion. ++
Without Iran’s cooperation peace and stability in Iraq cannot be achieved. ++ The more immediate danger is not Iranian nuclear ambition, but the transformation of the Gulf into a theater of artificial Sunni-versus-Shia tensions. ++ Contrary to most Western news accounts, the IAEA

... More

May 30, 2008 | McCain's Foreign Policy: More Procrastination

The US position vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea has been weakened in the past several years, not out of a reluctance to engage in talks, or because of the emptiness of threats of using force, but because of a failure to formulate a clear-cut policy. ++ As the military option is unrealistic, America should focus on the many diplomatic and economic levers at its disposal. ++ John McCain’s refusal to

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May 29, 2008 | US Iran Policy Requires More Flexibility

Iran cannot be prevented from acquiring nuclear power capabilities. ++ The US should therefore favor negotiation with the regime over the current threats and sanctions driven policy which merely provides for hostile relations. ++ Since “a successful approach to Iran has to accommodate its security interests and ours,” strategic deterrence should prove effective. ++ Additionally, cooperation could

... More

May 28, 2008 | Gulf States do not Require US Assistance Against Iran

The US proposal of a regional nuclear defense shield against Iran is not being met with enthusiasm by its allies in the Persian Gulf. ++ As business ties with Iran deepen, the Gulf States perceive the offer of the US as a short-sighted attempt to divide the Middle East, and as potentially highly destabilizing. ++ It is in the US’s own interest not to force its allies into making an unnecessary

... More

May 27, 2008 | Iranian Threat: 5 Minutes to Midnight

Failed US foreign policy pushed Iran into a hegemonic role it never could have attained under its own power and in such a short time. ++ Iran’s nuclear program threatens to tilt the regional strategic balance enduringly. ++ It is very likely that the US and Israel will solve this problem before Bush steps down. ++ “Iran’s nuclear program will be handled militarily, not

... More

May 23, 2008 | Hezbollah Strengthened by Deals for Factions

The recent agreement between Lebanese political factions promised to end the 18 month long political deadlock. ++ Although it amounted to a significant shift of power in favour of the militant Shiite group Hezbollah, the governmental officials believe it helped avoid a civil war. + + Yet the deal did not resolve the questions that provoked the crisis in December 2006. ++ Those include

... More

May 22, 2008 | Iranian Oil Could Loosen Russia's Energy Grip

Iran, which is the OPEC’s second’s largest exporter, has enough natural gas to alleviate Western Europe’s uncomfortable reliance on Russia’s energy exports. ++ Disputes over pipelines, political blocking, and current US sanctions on capital inflow into Iran stand in the way of exploiting this huge potential. ++ Much depends on the coming elections, both in the US and Iran,

... More

May 20, 2008 | Iran: Requesting Transparency Not Suspension

While Iran’s nuclear program frustrates the West and demonstrates “the limits of American power,” feelings of satisfaction and success unite Iranians. ++ Western incentives for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment - such as commercial contracts - are unimaginative and defective. ++ Since Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions won’t ebb, the US and its EU Allies should encourage a plan that trades

... More

May 16, 2008 | Iran's Victory in Lebanon

The conflict in Lebanon is part of the larger regional struggle between Arabs and Iran over influence in the region. ++ Hizbollah military action shows that there is a new game in town. ++ While Iran armed, financed and supported Hizbollah, the Arabs limited their support to the legitimate Lebanon government. ++ In fact, Arab league has failed to have any impact on any major development in the

... More

May 15, 2008 | Obama's Middle East Will be Business as Usual

Obama advocates leading open and direct negotiations with everyone, from Iran to Cuba. ++ His opposition to the Iraq war, his rational stance on Iran, and his “understanding of US imperialism” suggest he will reshape American foreign policy. ++ Yet Obama’s readiness to compromise does not apply to the Middle East. ++ Since Obama’s presidency would provide for high expectations, the predictable

... More

May 13, 2008 | No Resolution in Sight to Iranian Nuclear Stalemate

Amid escalating rhetoric about Iranian military involvement in Iraq, a new package of incentives by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany is unlikely to persuade Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment. ++ As long as open-ended suspension remains the prerequisite for the continuation of talks, Iran will continue its defiance. ++ “The insistence on this precondition

... More

May 13, 2008 | Preventing Lebanon From Slipping Into Civil War

Recent escalating disputes and mutual suspicion between the government and the Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon raise fears of a new civil war. ++ Arab countries are concerned that Hezbollah may be attempting to spread Iranian influence to Iraq and Lebanon. ++ All parties involved - especially the Arab League and the US - should promote regional and inter-factional cooperation. ++ Political

... More

May 6, 2008 | The Threat of the New Middle East

The old Middle East and the secular nationalism that went along with it is being replaced by a new, modern Middle East in which political Islam and anti-Western nationalism play a decisive role. ++ There is now a serious threat of “a confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia for sub-regional supremacy, and between Iran and the US for regional hegemony.” ++ The entire state system in the

... More

May 5, 2008 | Iran's Role in Iraq: Complexity and Confusion

According to the US, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism causing heavy casualties in Iraq. ++ Iranian Hussein Shariatmadari denies this with the claim Iran shares Iraq’s interest in ending US occupation and armed militias. ++ Though the discovery of Iranian weaponry in Iraq suggests Iran is arming Shiite militias, Iranian authorities maintain they would sell weaponry to any party. ++ US

... More

April 24, 2008 | Focus on the Suppliers of Proliferation

Concerning the Iranian enrichment program, international attention shouldn’t exclusively be on the receiving country. ++ Indian and European companies deliver nuclear supplies to Iran. ++ Tightening up control over European nuclear industries and doing so transparently, while enlisting the cooperation of Russia and China in this effort is necessary to stop Iranian nuclear weapon

... More

April 22, 2008 | Improving America's Image in the Arab World

Recent Arab public opinion polls confirm a “gap between the aims of American policies and Arab public perceptions of the US.” ++ They also highlight that the US could improve its image by brokering peace between Palestine and Israel and by withdrawing from Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. ++ While US policies are clearly opposed, middle ground could be found regarding democratic values and

... More

April 18, 2008 | Iran Divides Democratic Candidates

Obama and Clinton may agree on many issues, but they champion two very different approaches towards US foreign policy in the Middle East. ++ Obama opposes the notion of a “clash of civilizations” and supports engaging moderates and democrats in the Muslim world. ++ Clinton would follow a path similar to that of the Bush administration and focus on defending US allies and deterring Iran.

... More

April 17, 2008 | Iran Could be a Partner of the US in Iraq

Contrary to the Bush administration’s claim last week, the main interest of Iran in Iraq is not to predicate on violence but to stabilize this country. ++ To prevent the possible future aggression from the Sunnites and to stop the agitation for Kurdish autonomy, Iran should not derange the unfolding democratic process. ++ To emerge as the leading power in the Gulf, Iran needs the withdrawal of US

... More

March 31, 2008 | Getting the US out of Iraq is the Smart Thing to Do

US disengagement in Iraq will increase long term stability in the region. ++ Al-Qaeda is not behind most of the insurgency. ++ Disengagement should include serious dialogues with Iraqi leaders and those of neighboring areas, including Iran. ++ Overall goal of US strategy should be to stabilize the Middle East by ending the war in Iraq, negotiating with Iran, and leading Israel and Palestine to

... More

March 28, 2008 | Building a Relationship With Iran

Iran and the US are not doomed to remain eternal enemies. ++ The two countries share profound strategic interests such as stabilizing Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; preventing the spread of Russian influence; and ensuring that Middle Eastern oil flow smoothly to Western markets. ++ A path towards comprehensive negotiations should be adopted as it is low cost and could yield extremely remarkable

... More

March 27, 2008 | Russia is an Offender in the Nuclear Arms Race

Israel’s legitimate nuclear program is not a valuable excuse for Russia to jeopardize international security by supplying a reactor to Iran and by agreeing on nuclear cooperation with
Egypt. ++ The international community should strive to prevent unstable democracies from acquiring nuclear weapons, acknowledge that Iran is not just a threat to Israel but to the world, and hold Russia

... More

March 18, 2008 | Germany's Position on Iran is Crucial

During Merkel’s visit, Israel needs to clarify that Germany must support tougher sanctions, break diplomatic ties, and end governmental trade subsidies with Iran. ++ Brown and Sarkozy are already supportive of more restrictive sanctions, but if Germany remains indecisive, effective action against Iran will be impossible. ++ Israel only further endangers itself claiming that Germany is doing

... More

March 13, 2008 | Iran: Unpredictable Parliamentary Elections

Owing to Iran’s unique political culture combining elements of democracy and autocracy, Ahmadinejad’s hard-liners will face pragmatic conservatives on March 14. ++ Despite the pressure of the paramilitary, economic mismanagement could enable the president’s adversaries to gain ground. ++ Iran may step away from revolutionary radicalism but it would still be too soon “to write Ahmadinejad’s

... More

March 4, 2008 | Working With Iran

The US’s current “insistence on zero enrichment of uranium” in Iran is unreasonable. ++ The US needs to encourage Iran to abandon its national enrichment activities in favor of a multilateral program based in Iran. ++ While there would be many risks, such a program would deter Iranian proliferation, help Iran further its nuclear power agenda, and ensure greater transparency regarding its nuclear

... More

January 9, 2008 | Time to Talk With Iran

In the wake of the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, the EU should continue with their diplomatic approach, despite US calls for more unilateral sanctions, says Volker Perthes of the SWP. Such an approach should be based on a broad international consensus, clearly communicating that the issue is proliferation and not the nature of the Iranian regime, and come with an earnest offer of

... More

December 20, 2007 | US Intelligence Estimate Could Reshape Transatlantic Iran Strategy

The results of the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s nuclear program reveal nothing distinctly different from previous findings. Nevertheless, their ensuing debate could prove critical to long-term transatlantic strategy on Iran says Ian Lesser of the German Marshall Fund.

The strategic implications of the new NIE reveal that Iran may opt for an ambiguous nuclear

... More

November 22, 2007 | Nuclear Race in the Middle East

As Egypt declares its intentions to pursue nuclear energy, it joins other thirteen states in the Middle East with the same aim. Iran’s nuclear plans seem to be responsible for this troubling trend, writes Dan Murphy from the Christian Science Monitor.
While the group includes Libya, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, only Jordan and Egypt seem to have legitimate claims to nuclear power. Jordan possesses

... More

November 14, 2007 | EU Dependence on Russian Energy Could Jeopardize Transatlantic Relations

Europe has become heavily reliant on Russia to meet its energy needs. This trend undermines Europe’s self-confidence and jeopardizes its geopolitical position as well as that of the United States, says Ariel Cohen from the Heritage Foundation.
Russia’s agenda seeks to perpetuate dependence by consolidating Gazprom’s position at home and abroad. As foreign companies such as Shell and BP fail to

... More

November 8, 2007 | Survey Shows 52% of Americans Support an Attack Against Iran

Zogby International publishes results of the latest telephone poll conducted on key current issues. After tensions have risen to an all-time-high between the United States and Iran, the poll shows 52% of those surveyed support a military strike against the Persian country to prevent the success of their nuclear program.
Among presidential candidates, Senator Hillary Clinton was considered by 21

... More

October 25, 2007 | Germany: An Accomplice to a Nuclear Iran?

Despite tough rhetoric from Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany continues to play a role in Iran’s nuclear program, writes Benjamin Weinthal in Haaretz. Germany’s official public stance looks shaky in the face of the $5.7 billion in deals closed by German firms with Tehran in 2006. Furthermore, a number of German companies are under investigation for the unlawful supply of technology to

... More

October 11, 2007 | Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan Ambitions For Energy Transportation

Transportation of energy resources was top of the agenda during a recent talk between the presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, reports News Central Asia. Presidents Nazarbaev and Berdymuhamedov said their countries had reached an agreement on cooperation for transit and transportation of energy resources. Until now Kazakhstan’s energy exports have been dependant on the Russian

... More

September 26, 2007 | France Backtracks on War Talk Surrounding Iran's Nuclear Program

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner toned down the pitch of remarks he made earlier this week on the possibility of war with Iran, this time emphasizing negotiations over the use of military measures, report Katrin Bennhold and Elaine Sciolino for the New York Times. French Intelligence fears that Iran may produce a nuclear weapon before the projected 2010-2015 window.

Kouchner

... More

September 21, 2007 | Israel's Air Force Raid on Syria. Its Silence. And What It All Means.

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens breaks down the intrigue surrounding Israel’s military operations over Syria on September 6. “In a country of open secrets,” Israel’s customary fleet of spokesmen and pundits has remained conspicuously silent, says Stephens. But why? None of the explanations circulating in the news media—the theory that North Korea was using Syria as a safe

... More

September 4, 2007 | World Bank Continues To Support State Sponsors of Terrorism

Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) reveals in the Washington Post that hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into Iran through the World Bank, despite UNSC and IAEA conclusions that Iran has ignored its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It appears that there is a major disconnect between multilateral organizations over how to jointly confront the pressing issues

... More

August 21, 2007 | Is Russia's claim exceptional? List of most Valuable Disputed Territories

FP lists the top most valuable disputed turfs that might just be worth a fight. The world was astonished by Russia’s recent claim to the arctic shelf, with potential for billions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves. But looking globally, many other strategic and mineral rich territories are just as highly contested between several countries. Japan vs. China, Venezuela against major US oil

... More

June 19, 2007 | Yossi Mekelberg on Open Deterrence Against Iran Israel's New Old Option

Yossi Mekelberg, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, analyzes Israeli policy options towards Iran and potential consequences.

Though Israel would prefer that issues with Tehran be resolved diplomatically through the international community, it perceives Iran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat and cannot rule out the military option.

However, Menkelberg argues that military

... More

April 25, 2007 | Ronald Asmus on Healing Transatlantic Relations Through Missile Defense

The creation of a legitimate US missile defense system requires a NATO framework, bipartisan support within the US, and Russian participation, argues Ronald Asmus of the German Marshall Fund. The Atlantic Initiative Advisory Board member sees danger of a new division into “Old” and “New” Europe unless these key elements are resolved. While influential US allies Angela Merkel and Jaap de Hoop

... More

April 16, 2007 | Christoph Bertram on Gently Nudging Iran to Play Ball

The United Nations approach to halting the Iranian nuclear program is a deepening hole that the Security Council and Germany should “stop digging,” says Christoph Bertram, the former director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin and a member of the Atlantic Initiative Advisory Board. Bertram notes that attempts at sanctioning Iran have heightened Tehran’s

... More

April 16, 2007 | John K. Cooley Calls For A Comprehensive US-Iranian Dialogue

Veteran Middle East reporter John K. Cooley suggests the US initiate a comprehensive, formal dialogue with Iran on the issues that have divided the two countries since Iran’s 1979 revolution. The minimum objective of this dialogue should be the halt of Iranian uranium enrichment and plutonium diversion for weapons production. A four-step peace plan—including cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq

... More

April 12, 2007 | Lionel Beehner Sees a Fire Lit Under Cold-War Tensions

The US-Russian relationship during President Putin’s tenure has seesawed between mutual cooperation and confrontation, says Lionel Beehner of the US Council on Foreign Relations. The three main reasons for these recent tensions are the American intentions to establish an antimissile shield, expand NATO, and encourage the installation of pro-Western governments across Eastern Europe. Putin has

... More

April 12, 2007 | Mitchell and Lahn on Asian Oil Companies and Global Energy Security

Chatham House researchers John Mitchell and Glada Lahn advise that although production abroad by Asian national oil companies (ANOCs) is small right now, its relevance to global energy security could change if ANOCs gain significant positions in Iraq or Iran. ANOC host governments are attracted to such Middle East investment by the lower requirements for transparency or diminished social

... More

April 12, 2007 | Yaakov Amidror Warns Israel's Defeat in Lebanon Will Come Back to Haunt Them

Since Israel failed to declare victory in the 2006 war in Lebanon, the Shi’a axis (Iran-Syria-Hezbollah) has only grown stronger and will continue to do so once the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, or Iran builds a nuclear warhead. So writes Yaakov Amidror of the Israeli Army in his account of the outcome of the war. Despite religious conflict with Sunni countries in the region, the revitalized

... More

Comments

November 3, 2012 | Wow very engaging, though I think the drone...

April 13, 2012 | Well written article. I would like to have you...

February 17, 2012 | Id agree that raprochement would be the ideal...

February 9, 2012 | As an important aside, Khamenei's rhetoric is...

January 23, 2012 | Dear Keri, Many thanks for reminding us of...

December 1, 2011 | Whilst it is true that the assassination...

November 8, 2011 | Thank you all very much for your comments. As...

September 24, 2011 | "Physical damage and real kinetic...

September 11, 2011 | Mr. Anzinger, I would find your...

September 7, 2011 | Dr. Lucke, it is not my belief that anyone...

September 5, 2011 | @ Niklas, I heard one of Iranian guests on...

September 5, 2011 | You have underlined the purpose of this...

August 31, 2011 | Dear Colleagues, As the posts continue to...

August 30, 2011 | Hello George, As I mentioned to you on...

August 29, 2011 | Prof. Colette Mazzucelli You have rightly...

August 25, 2011 | Dr. Mazzucelli, we have had some amazing...

August 25, 2011 | It seems what Saba and many others are more...

August 23, 2011 | Saba, thanks very much for writing on this...

June 26, 2011 | Niklas, thank you very much for such an...

May 4, 2011 | After inviting a discussion about the safety...

March 28, 2011 | @Nabi: Fairness? Seriously? Poor Tehran,...

October 28, 2010 | Felix, Thank you for your insightful...

July 8, 2010 | To back such claims, you need to provide some...

April 20, 2010 | Some short comments: 1. On the European...

March 24, 2010 | Sounds like a reasonable argument. But...

February 11, 2010 | I find myself in agreement with the thought of...

February 9, 2010 | This discussion about Iran is indeed welcome....

February 5, 2010 | Having social networking medium as a form of...

January 31, 2010 | Iran is an old civilization and also a country...

October 20, 2009 | From my point of view Iran has the same right...

October 20, 2009 | Until this summer the gas game has be seen as...

September 22, 2009 | Really? You wrote: « In 1939 alone, both...

September 20, 2009 | One would like to look closer at a few issues...

August 21, 2009 | I must agree with Mr. Schrade and the authors:...

August 20, 2009 | This last comment from - pityfully -...

July 6, 2009 | Dear Colleagues, I do agree that the battle...

July 4, 2009 | Personally I was at first interested about...

June 24, 2009 | Governments reflect in large part the nature...

June 24, 2009 | Results (government view) in Iran election...

June 22, 2009 | Prior to the elections, I didn't think...

June 22, 2009 | Much has been said about the need of...

June 22, 2009 | Dear Colette, Thanks for the nice...

June 22, 2009 | Dear Atlantic-Community.org...

June 19, 2009 | Dear Colleagues, It will be interesting to...

June 18, 2009 | Dear Fellow Contributors: The link to this...

June 17, 2009 | Mr. Daiyar, Thank you for your comments....

April 11, 2009 | Although the mainstream-media is still not...

March 21, 2009 | I mainly agree the suggested priorities, which...

January 20, 2009 | Thank you Colette: By any standard...

January 19, 2009 | Thank you, Jeff, for including these...

January 14, 2009 | Dear Mr. Swierczynski (or Marek, if I...

January 11, 2009 | In a mammoth piece of journalism the NYT...

December 24, 2008 | In a global village, everyone is a villager!?...

November 16, 2008 | @Donald Stadler: I read the Friedman...

November 5, 2008 | The world has forgotten...

October 20, 2008 | Thank you for this insightful article. I was...

October 17, 2008 | Sapideh and David, What would work in Iran...

October 15, 2008 | Don't the Pashtuns comprise some 40% of the...

October 11, 2008 | Hi Don. Yep, it's me. In fact I cross-posted...

August 29, 2008 | "Direct diplomacy" in this context is just a...

July 27, 2008 | I totally agree with Mr Bonnenberg that gas as...

June 24, 2008 | From the energy-gambling point of view...

May 26, 2008 | One technical remark. The Author claims that...

May 24, 2008 | Someone once remarked that history costs...

March 21, 2008 | Don't be too much worried. Polish leaders have...

February 27, 2008 | Thanks for softly knocking on the door, Mr....

February 8, 2008 | Dear Ms. Alizadeh, yes, of course Chinese...

February 8, 2008 | Dear Ms. Alizadeh, you raise a lot of...

February 6, 2008 | Two of your main arguments find my full...

October 30, 2007 | Sebastian, I agree with your analysis of...

October 11, 2007 | The discussion of this particular issue is...

July 11, 2007 | Thank you Mr. Niebel for your great article....

July 11, 2007 | There are no lessons from the Iraq sanctions...

May 30, 2007 | In my opinion the only thing that holds the...

May 5, 2007 | Tehran realized after the Iraq war that...

May 5, 2007 | Ms. Butterfield Kladen argues: "Tehran...

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