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As Iran's President Heads to New York, an Opportunity




Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a press conference in Doha on September 5, 2010 (Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a press conference in Doha on September 5, 2010 (Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images)

When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly later this month it will be his first appearance at the UN since the Security Council strengthened sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program in June.

When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly later this month it will be his first appearance at the UN since the Security Council strengthened sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program in June.

Asia Society’s Director of Policy Studies Suzanne DiMaggio says “since that time, countries in Europe and Asia have followed the lead of the US by unilaterally imposing further measures that target Iran’s energy, banking, investment, and shipping sectors in an effort to apply extra pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table. This is all in line with the Obama administration’s ‘dual track’ approach twinning sanctions and diplomacy. Although economic pressure on Iran has been ramped up considerably, no traction has been gained on opening diplomatic channels."

DiMaggio, who also directs the Asia Society’s Iran Initiative says "now that the Obama administration can declare a hard won victory on the sanctions front, it should pursue a third venue for engaging Tehran that centers around a broader strategic dialogue, including the possibilities for a regional approach to Afghanistan."

Ahmadinejad's upcoming trip comes amid criticism from the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran is impeding UN efforts to monitor the country's nuclear program (WSJ).

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