National Security Brief: Bipartisan Expert Group Urges U.S. To Boost Diplomacy With Iran

A new report from a bipartisan group of former U.S. officials urges the Obama administration to strengthen and expand diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program instead of relying solely on sanctions to convince the regime in Tehran to change course.

The Iran Project’s report says that the U.S. sanctions policy may be backfiring and has “contributed to an increase in repression and corruption within Iran” and “may be sowing the seeds of long-term alienation between the Iranian people and the United States.”

“The United States should now dedicate as much energy and creativity to negotiating directly with Iran as it has to assembling a broad international coalition to pressure and isolate Iran,” the report says, adding, “Only by taking such a rebalanced approach might the United States achieve its objectives with respect to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Signatories to the report include former Republican senator Dick Lugar, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, former Bush administration NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden, President Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton.

“It is time for the administration to make the sweat equity investment in negotiations equal to” efforts put into sanctions and the military option, said former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, another signatory to the report, according to Al-Monitor. “The president has to make the decision he wants a deal and instruct his people that he wants a deal.”

In other news:

  • The Washington Post reports: Secretary of State John F. Kerry showed little patience Wednesday with lawmakers who continue to demand a better accounting from the Obama administration for its statements and actions surrounding last September’s terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Foreign Policy reports: Ban Ki-moon will become the first sitting United Nations secretary general to visit the Pentagon when he meets with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey on Thursday to discuss the North Korean crisis.
  • (Photo: The Iran Project)