It might seem counter-intuitive to think that attacking the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, would damage Iran or Shi’ite interests in the Middle East. After all, Iran shares the West’s concerns about the radical Sunni group and is in a tacit alliance with the United States when it comes to defeating their common enemy. And yet, Iran fears it might end up being the loser in this battle.
The Great Debate
On Thursday, negotiators from the United States, Iran and five other world powers begin the final stretch of negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear agreement. A deal is within reach. But time is short.
When President Barack Obama makes the case for military action against Islamic State militants on Wednesday night, it won’t be hard to convince Americans to get involved in the conflict. The hard part will be explaining how we get out.
In 21st century Iraq, the enemy is not a state, though it calls itself one. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a group of Islamist insurgents whose presence stretches across the border between Syria and Iraq.
With only days to go before the original July 20 deadline for negotiations over the future Iran’s nuclear program, there is scant sign that a breakthrough is imminent. The reason is simple: Iranian leaders’ refusal to move from what a senior Obama administration official recently described as “unworkable and inadequate positions that would not in fact assure that their program is exclusively peaceful.”
Iran’s past nuclear efforts are among the many thorny issues in the continuing Iran nuclear talks. But focusing on the past is a mistake. Instead of insisting on knowing all about what Iran’s nuclear program looked like 10 years ago, the United States and its allies should focus on preventing Tehran from building a nuclear weapon in the future.
from Mark Leonard:
Thirty-five years ago Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran chanting “death to America.” But today Iran wants to work with the United States to stabilize Iraq while negotiating a deal on its nuclear program. The journey from death threats to diplomacy is both a triumph of U.S. statecraft and a symbol of its declining power.
To work with Iran or not to work with Iran? That’s the question dogging Washington as Iraq descends into chaos, reminding America that its mission there was never truly accomplished.
Iranian officials met this week with their six-power counterparts to try to hammer out the outlines of a comprehensive nuclear deal set to last for several years. But its precise duration remains undecided.