Wednesday, December 06, 2006

US Businesses Want Engagement with Iran

Today, Jake Colvin, Director of USA*Engage said: “Isolation has rarely proved to be effective in changing the behavior of other governments. The Iraq Study Group report is further evidence that dialogue with the Iranian regime, however limited, is vitally important to U.S. national and security interests. Not talking simply limits your options. Dialogue is not going to be a silver bullet, but it’s a more constructive approach to a country like Iran.”

The Iraq Study Group is the latest in a series of important commissions and study groups to endorse dialogue with Iran. Others include:

A 2004 report published by the Council on Foreign Relations, which was co-chaired by incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Among other things, the report recommended that: “The United States should work with Tehran to capitalize on Iran’s influence to advance the stability and consolidation of its neighbors.” It went on to say that, “Small steps, such as the authorization of trade between U.S. entities and Iran’s relatively small private sector, should be contemplated as confidence-building measures that would create new constituencies within Iran for a government that is fully integrated into the international community.”

A 2001 Atlantic Council of the United States Working Group, co-chaired by Lee H. Hamilton, James Schlesinger and Brent Scowcroft, in which NFTC’s Daniel O’Flaherty also participated. That report, which advocated for unilaterally “relaxing the economic sanctions currently in place against Iran,” also said that “The development of a U.S.-Iranian relationship characterized by all of the strands of normal interaction between nations would enable the United States to further its broader national interests.”

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