“The latest WikiLeaks information dump includes a sizeable amount of U.S. diplomatic cables related to Iran,” says Suzanne DiMaggio, Asia Society’s Director of Policy Studies. “One of the most revealing elements is the extent to which leaders from Arab states in the Gulf region have been urging the United States to use military force against Iran to destroy its presumed nuclear capabilities -- while publicly opposing such action -- and how firmly the Obama administration has resisted pressure to do so. Instead, the U.S. has been pursuing a dual engagement/pressure approach to try to get Iran to curb its uranium enrichment activities -- a strategy which has not yielded any concrete results. Although economic pressure on Iran has been ramped up considerably (the leaked documents provide some interesting details of how the U.S. wrangled support for the latest round of U.N. Security Council sanctions, especially in the case of China), efforts aimed at opening a diplomatic dialogue have faltered. Next week’s P5+1 meeting will bring Iranian and American officials face-to-face to discuss Iran’s nuclear program for the first time since October 2009. This new round of negotiations offers an opportunity to gain traction on the engagement front. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to calls for tougher action against Iran from Tehran’s neighbors in the Gulf and beyond.”
Suzanne, who is based in New York, directs the Asia Society’s Iran Initiative. She has authored a chapter on U.S.-Iran track II diplomacy in “The Iran Primer: Power, Politics and U.S. Policy,” a new publication from the U.S. Institute of Peace: www.iranprimer.com
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