Coping with Iran

Coping with Iran: Confrontation, Containment, or Engagement? A Conference Report

James Dobbins
Sarah Harting
Dalia Dassa Kaye
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 106
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/cf237nsrd
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  • Book Info
    Coping with Iran
    Book Description:

    On March 21, 2007, the RAND Corporation held a public conference on Capitol Hill, "Coping with Iran: Confrontation, Containment, or Engagement?" Participants sought to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various policy options to address the Iranian challenge. This report summarizes remarks presented during the conference. The views expressed in this document are those of the participants, as interpreted by the RAND Corporation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4238-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. CONFERENCE SUMMARY
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-2)
    James Dobbins

    The United States and Iran are two countries with a long history of strained relations. Iranian discontent with the United States is the result of several specific incidents, to include U.S. support for the 1953 coup in Iran, U.S. support for the Shah, U.S. support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, and the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner by the U.S. Navy. Similarly, U.S. discontent with Iran is the result of such incidents as the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran; Iranian support for groups associated with the attacks on the U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983...

  9. PANEL 1: INSIDE IRAN
    (pp. 3-12)

    Patrick Clawson (Deputy Director for Research, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Paul Pillar (Center for Peace and Security Studies, Georgetown University)

    Karim Sadjadpour (associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

    Ray Takeyh (senior fellow for Middle East Studies, Council on Foreign Relations)

    Anne Gearan (diplomatic correspondent, Associated Press)

    Contrary to the mistaken impression that the nuclear issue has allowed Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad to rally nationalist sentiment, the nuclear issue has been the key issue used by his opponents to criticize him. Iranian moderates, and even many in his own camp, have warned that President Ahmadi-Nejad is threatening his...

  10. PANEL 2: LOOKING AT TWO ALTERNATIVE FUTURES
    (pp. 13-38)

    David Ochmanek (director, Project AIR FORCE Strategy and Doctrine Program, RAND Corporation)

    Kenneth Pollack (director of research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution)

    Michael Eisenstadt (director, Military and Security Studies Program, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Robert Hunter (senior advisor, RAND Corporation)

    The purpose of this presentation is to present a summary of work done at RAND over the past two to three years bearing on the issue of Iran and nuclear weapons. Specifically, we offer insights relating to two “futures”: one in which Iran develops and fields an arsenal of nuclear weapons, and the...

  11. AN IRANIAN PERSPECTIVE
    (pp. 39-48)

    Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, participating via videoconference from the UN in New York)

    Michael Hirsh (senior editor,Newsweek)

    David Ignatius (national security columnist,The Washington Post)

    Iran’s national security doctrine is a product of both its experiences and its geography. Iran’s experiences have not been entirely positive; Iran has been involved in or directly affected by three devastating wars in the Persian Gulf. The threat of WMD is also an important factor impacting Iran’s national security environment. Iran plays an important role not only in the Persian Gulf but also in Central Asia, particularly considering...

  12. PANEL 3: WHAT TO DO: PREEMPTION? CONTAINMENT? ENGAGEMENT?
    (pp. 49-58)

    James Dobbins (director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation)

    Martin Indyk (director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution)

    Danielle Pletka (vice president, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute)

    Steven Simon (Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations)

    Daniel Levy (senior fellow and director, Middle East Policy Initiative, New America Foundation)

    So far, discussions have taken place at the descriptive level of what is going on inside Iran. Now we turn to what should be done next. Most of the Bush administration’s objectives in the Middle East are...

  13. A U.S. PERSPECTIVE
    (pp. 59-66)

    R. Nicholas Burns (Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs)

    Michael Hirsh (senior editor,Newsweek)

    David Ignatius (national security columnist,The Washington Post)

    The foundations of national security policy are based on global security interests. Currently, how we deal with Iran is the most pressing problem that we have. We have to address the renewed offensive by President Ahmadi-Nejad: What does this mean to the United States, how should the United States respond, and how should the United States deal with allies? There are several indications that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon capability. The governments in Russia, China, Europe,...

  14. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 67-68)
    James Dobbins

    In brief, nobody favored preemption, though it remained an option; instead, most agreed on some degree of containment and engagement. Ambassador Zarif and Under Secretary Burns were both very persuasive. Just think how much better off we would all be if they had been spending their time persuading each other rather than us....

  15. APPENDIX A. CONFERENCE PROGRAM Coping With Iran: Confrontation, Containment or Engagement?
    (pp. 69-70)
  16. APPENDIX B. PARTICIPANT BIOGRAPHIES Coping with Iran: Confrontation, Containment, or Engagement?
    (pp. 71-86)
  17. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 87-88)