A Win-Win U.S. Strategy for Dealing with Iran

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In an article written for the current issue of the Washington Quarterly by Larry Diamond, Michael McFaull and Abbas Milani, suggests that the U.S. government seek a comprehensive agreement with Tehran that would "end the economic embargo, unfreeze all Iranian assets, restore full diplomatic relations, support the initiation of talks on Iran's entry into the WTO, encourage foreign investment, and otherwise move toward a normal relationship with the Iranian government." In exchange, Iran would have to suspend its nuclear weapons program in a verifiable manner, accept fundamental human-rights principles and terminate its "support for terrorist groups and activities, including training, intelligence support, and weapons shipments for Hezbollah, Hamas, and radical Shi'ite militias in Iraq." As much as possible, it is important that the people of Iran are made aware of the proposal and its benefits: "badly needed economic development, foreign investment, increased employment, new educational prospects at home and abroad and more generally an end to Iran's international isolation." Diamond, McFaul, and Milani think the Iranian regime will probably reject this grand bargain, but by doing so the mullahs "further undermine their already weak legitimacy with a young, restive, and suffering people. The blunt exposure of the mullahs' obsession with defending their own power and privilege at the expense of the public could intensify popular unrest, further divide an already splintered regime, and eventually create the conditions for regime crisis and transition to democracy. Heads we win, tails they lose."

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