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Time for a U.S.-Iranian 'Grand Bargain'

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Publication Date: October 2008

Publisher(s): New America Foundation

Author(s): Flynt Leverett

Special Collection: Presidential Advisory

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)
International relations (Diplomacy)

Keywords: Diplomacy; Iran; Presidential transition

Type: Report

Coverage: United States Iran


The next U.S. president, whether it is John McCain or Barack Obama, should reorient American policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran as fundamentally as President Nixon reoriented American policy toward the People's Republic of China in the early 1970s.

Nearly three decades of U.S. policy toward Iran emphasizing diplomatic isolation, escalating economic pressure, and thinly veiled support for regime change have damaged the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East. U.S.-Iranian tensions have been a constant source of regional instability and are an increasingly dangerous risk factor for global energy security. As a result of a dysfunctional Iran policy, among other foreign policy blunders, the American position in the region is currently under greater strain than at any point since the end of the Cold War.