In contrast to the Iraq Study Group and numerous other advocates of compartmentalized, incremental diplomacy with Iran, a new report authored by New America Senior Fellow Flynt Leverett and published by the Century Foundation calls for comprehensive engagement with Tehran. While the Bush Administration continues to cast doubt on the viability of negotiations with Iran, and the Iraq Study Group report advocates decoupling discussions about Iraq from those regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, Leverett’s report argues that the only viable diplomatic approach is to seek a comprehensive ‘grand bargain’ between the United States and the Islamic Republic.
Leverett draws on his considerable experience in the intelligence, national security, and policy planning sectors to assess the previous failures to engage Iran via the Security Council and incentive packages, concluding that a “grand bargain” is the most promising strategy for resolving Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He argues that this grand bargain must certainly include a security agreement by Washington -- and in exchange, Iran would be expected to limit nuclear and terrorist activities and to take a constructive role in post-Saddam Iraq.
At this American Strategy Program event, Leverett outlined the argument made in his report, and took audience questions in a lively follow-up discussion. He also took aim at the White House for intervening in the CIA Publications Review Board's "secrets review" process to which Leverett, as a former CIA employee, subjects all his written work. Leverett charged that the resulting censorship of a proposed op-ed was politically motivated and based on "fraudulent" arguments. (See video excerpt.)
Full-length video of this important and timely discussion is available at right, while an MP3 audio recording can be downloaded below.
- Flynt Leverett
Senior Fellow, American Strategy Program
Director, Geopolitics of Energy Initiative
- Steven Clemons
Senior Fellow and Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation