Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
American Iranian Council Urges the Obama
Administration to Engage Iran Now
ccun.org, September 14, 2009
The American Iranian Council believes that the Obama Administration
should continue to offer "direct talks" to Iran and that Secretary Clinton
is right when she says "the time is now." Making time of the essence is
the right approach to dealing with US-Iran relations.
unfortunate that certain Iranian-American organizations and personalities
(NOT leaders of the Green Movement) have called for Iran's "diplomatic
isolation" and a stop to US-Iran engagement. This misleading advice will
disserve all parties involved in the US-Iran dispute.
that engaging Iran now would stifle the Iranian democratic movement and
that it "legitimizes" President Ahmadinejad is also misplaced. Indeed, the
argument is anti-American as it suggests better relations with the United
States might strengthen dictatorship rather than democracy.
assumption that the Iranian government is not in a position to negotiate
or deliver on its commitments, if it were to make any, is also wrong.
Despite the ongoing political turmoil, the regime in Tehran remains stable
in the medium-term and the Supreme Leader is still in charge.
Stop-and-go proposals also disregard the time-sensitive nature of
U.S.-Iran disagreements over uranium enrichment. It can also mean an
indefinite halt to U.S.-Iran talks as the Iranian political situation will
not "normalize" for the foreseeable future.
To convince Israel and
its allies to stay with President Obama's diplomatic approach, it is
important that no time is wasted in engaging Iran. Israel has called for a
deadline in resolving concerns over Iran's nuclear capabilities and has
threatened military action.
We believe the nuclear issue is making
the "neither-war nor-peace" status quo between Iran and the United States
rapidly obsolete. The parties will soon have to face a serious choice
between accommodation or confrontation. Negotiation is the only hope for
Iran’s lack of appetite for constructive dialogue with the
United States made the U.S. Senate pass a resolution in July that
penalizes gasoline suppliers to Iran. At this point President Obama would
be ill-advised to authorize a ban on sales of refined oil products to
The American Iranian Council urges the United States to stay
with its engagement policy for now. Through a new Obama Speech, the
President should demand immediate direct talks and eliminate Iran's
windfall position of “neither-war nor-peace,” leaving only reconciliation
or conflict on the table.
The Council also calls on Iran to submit
its proposal to the 5+1 Group no later than the UN General Assembly
meetings this September. To achieve a win-win settlement, Iran must
urgently declare its readiness for constructive engagement with the United
States. We believe there is no better option!