Can Obama untangle the Iranian challenge?
People were turned away at the door at a standing room-only event at the Hart Senate Office Building titled, “Can Obama Untangle the Iranian Challenge: Prospects for a New Policy,” hosted by the Ploughshares-funded National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC’s president, Dr. Trita Parsi, welcomed a panel that included Former Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador James Dobbins, Dr. Farideh Fari of the University of Hawaii and Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione, who discussed the future of U.S.-Iran policy and the agenda for change.
The entire panel was concurred that current actions fail to thwart the nuclear ambitions of Iran and that the U.S. cannot keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result. They agreed that now is the time for engagement. The panelists answered press questions and were followed by Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), who also stressed the need for enhanced diplomacy with Iran. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) agreed, pointing out that uranium enrichment cessation was an object of the negotiations and therefore could not be a precondition.
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) gave the keynote address reiterating the theme of the day, that the U.S. has the opportunity to make significant progress by simply coming to the table, even if in a cautious, patient way.