September 17, 2015

Next Steps on Iran Deal After Surviving Congress

Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: (202) 386-6325
Email: [email protected]

With today’s expiration of the Congressional review of the Iran nuclear agreement, and the failure by Congressional opponents to kill the nuclear deal, NIAC President Dr. Trita Parsi released the following statement:

With the Iran nuclear deal having survived the Congressional review, focus must now turn to how the newly won dialogue with Iran can be used to stabilize the Middle East, push back against radicalism and terrorism, and improve Iran’s deplorable human rights record. The nuclear deal provides a unique momentum for peacemaking in the Middle East that must not be lost.

Significant question marks remain in both Washington and Tehran about the other sides’ ability to shift its behavior. Indeed, the nuclear deal only resolves one out of many areas of US-Iran tensions – it does not guarantee that Iran and the US will completely bury the hatchet.

But just because Iran and the US won’t become best friends tomorrow doesn’t mean they must be destined to be worst enemies forever.

An opportunity exists to gradually improve relations while resolving – or at a minimum containing – remaining points of tensions. Expanded dialogue between the US and Iran can help end the bloodshed in Syria – and in extension, resolve the refugee crisis that now also has reached the shores of Europe.

It can help bring about a more robust front against the Islamic radicalism that is spreading throughout the Middle East and beyond that threatens to collapse both states and societies, with catastrophic human suffering.

While dialogue does not guarantee that Iran’s foreign policy conduct will shift to Washington’s liking, the absence of engagement all but guarantees that there will be either no change or a change in the wrong direction.

Foreign policy has been said to be the art of balancing risks. But in reality, engagement carries with it next to no risk, while the absence of engagement has been proven to jeopardize national security.

For the sake of peace and security, Washington and Tehran should swiftly expand their channels of communication and enrich – no pun intended – the agenda to include regional security, the threat of terrorism and radicalism, and human rights.

Just as the nuclear issue was resolved through dialogue, other areas of tensions as well as future threats must now be addressed with the same degree of sincerity.


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