Thirty-four years ago, the Islamic Revolution changed not only the leadership of Iran but brought a complex and strained relationships with the United States. The focus of this paper is an analysis on an Iranian engagement policy option outlined in the CSIS Report “The Gulf Kaleidoscope: Reflections on the Iranian Challenge”. The international relations theory of liberalism is applied using the tenets of economic interdependence and democratic transparency.
For three decades, exchanges between the United States and Iranian diplomats have been tactical, not strategic. There are various policy options that can be utilized effectively and strategically to communicate, ultimately negotiate, with Iran. “Iran is a threat to regional stability because its regime pursues a variant of the same ideology that motivates al Qaeda.” The policy option of neither deterrence nor containment is not in the interest of the United States. Both options would increase United States diplomatic and military requirements during a time of fiscal constraints, not to mention the complexity and risk associated with those strategies.
Moreover, methods center on isolating Iran, a strategy of isolating Iran does not shape the countries behavior. The United States must clarify policy objectives, to include any constraints and limitations. Important to identify strategic ends, ways, and means that meet the desired end state of preventing Iran’s nuclear and regional hegemony ambitions. “Engagement seeks to heighten shared interests in order to induce better Iranian behavior.”
Since 1979 the United States sanctions has affected Iran’s economic well-being. The United States State Department, and its array of Foreign Service Officers, has the led role in diplomatic engagements with Iran. The current economic sanctions on Iran have affected oil revenues and ultimately the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The essential features of an engagement policy option are a “robust diplomatic strategy,” reassessing economic sanctions, and Iranian international relations. The end state is an engagement strategy that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
A diplomatic strategy is the best option in engaging Iran but it will require patience and a long-term commitment. The impact to Iran over the past 34 years is a zcountry that is isolated from not only the Middle East but also the international community. Only through a bilateral diplomatic effort will the United States convince Iran to change its foreign policy. The focus of the bilateral discussions is Iran’s nuclear program and the right to enrich uranium and an easing of the crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy. There is a belief Iran is amiable to discussing a inherent right to enrichment uranium as outlined in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, while seeking relief from the mandated United States and United Nations sanctions.
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