On January 12, 2010, PSA and Hudson Institute held a panel discussion on US policy options towards Iran, featuring speakers Ambassador James Dobbins, Dr. Ellen Laipson, Dr. Hillel Fradkin, and Alex Vatanka. The event, held shortly after Iran missed President Obama's unofficial deadline to accept a compromise offer on uranium enrichment, provided insights into the challenges Iran poses to the US and what realistic US policy goals in Iran would look like.
Dr. Laipson stressed that the US needed to focus less on meeting short-term goals and tactics that change between administrations, as the US has traditionally done in the past, and instead develop a consistent, long-term strategy for dealing with Iran.
Ambassador Dobbins suggested that any US strategy needed to encompass three main policy goals: halting or reversing its nuclear program, moderating Iran's external behavior, and encouraging reform within the Iranian regime. After agreeing with Ambassador Dobbins about the importance of constraining Iran's nuclear program, Dr. Fradkin discussed potential tactics for doing so, including the possibility of using force or strong sanctions against the regime. Finally, Vatanka offered a unique perspective into the domestic situation in Iran, noting that the regime is concerned with domestic threats to its rule and has thus redoubled its resolve to make progress in developing Iran's nuclear capabilities in order to strengthen its nationalist credentials within Iran.
Download the Event Summary
Audio of the event is available on Hudson's event page
PSA and Hudson Institute would like to thank Connect U.S. Fund,
whose generous support made this event possible.