Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

U.S.-Iran at the Brink

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

U.S.-Iran at the Brink

Article excerpt

THE EVER-LOOMING threat of an impasse among the U.S., Iran, and the international community over nuclear sanctions was the focus of a June 9 panel entitled "U.S.-Iran: At the Brink?" and hosted by the World Affairs Council at the University of California Washington Center.

The discussion opened with a comparison between previous U.S. attempts to curtail Iran's nuclear capabilities to the handling of the issue by the Obama administration. Trita Parsi, author of Treacherous Alliance (available from the AET Book Club) and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy Scholar, addressed the latest set of sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council. Calling it a "watered-down resolution," he noted that more dissent was expressed this time around than in the past. "The sanctions have imposed a cost on Iranians," Parsi said, but added that this did not mean Iran would change its behavior. The sanctions policy is "an end, not a means to an end," according to Parsi, and "America has wasted one of its last cards." This will cause Iran to feel more "emboldened," he said. The perceived decline of the U.S.'s status as a superpower does not help matters. Iran believes that "U.S. hegemony has an expiration date," Parsi said, "so why would they [the Iranian government] want to put their eggs in that basket?"

James Robbins, a senior fellow in national security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council and former special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, echoed Parsi's sentiment and said that "the international community keeps retreating from what's acceptable [in nuclear enrichment levels]. …

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