In Afghanistan, the Iran Factor

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent address at the Asia Society in New York outlined a new phase of U.S. diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan that will ‘actively engage with states in the region’ to advance a political settlement in Afghanistan,” says Suzanne DiMaggio, Asia Society’s Vice President of Global Policy Programs. “By including a specific reference to Iran in her remarks, Secretary Clinton seemed to indicate a readiness to engage with Tehran in regional talks about Afghanistan’s stability. This reinforces the opening to Tehran that President Barack Obama conveyed during a ‘background session’ on Iran policy to a small group of journalists in Washington in August 2010, which included a proposal for a track for talks on Afghanistan separate from the 5+1 talks on the nuclear issue. It remains to be seen if Iran will bite. The key would be to focus on areas of mutual interest, including ending al-Qaeda’s safe havens in the border region and combating drug production and trafficking as a major source of terrorist financing.”

Suzanne, who is based in New York, directs the Asia Society’s Iran Initiative. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or