Saturday, July 01, 2006

Diplomatic Déjà vu?: Nuclear Deal-Making with Iran

American Enterprise Institute:
Earlier this month, the U.S. government offered to join Britain, France, and Germany in meeting with Iranian representatives if Iran suspended uranium enrichment and reprocessing work. Included in the proposal were a series of incentives, including an offer to help build a light-water nuclear reactor, which is seen as less of a threat than the country's uranium enrichment program. While many diplomats hailed the offer and possibility of U.S.-Iranian talks as a breakthrough, the deal is strikingly similar to the 1994 U.S.–North Korea Agreed Framework, in which Pyongyang promised to suspend its enrichment program in exchange for two proliferation-resistant nuclear reactors and additional aid. North Korea soon abrogated its promises and has since announced that it has nuclear weapons.

What are the implications of this recent proposal? Why did the North Korean deal fail? Will an agreement with Iran be more successful? Is Tehran's strategy different from Pyongyang's? These and other questions will be the subject of an AEI panel discussion with Michael Connell, an Iran specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses; Danielle Pletka, AEI vice president for foreign and defense policy studies; and AEI scholars Nicholas Eberstadt, Michael Rubin, and Gary Schmitt. AEI resident scholar Frederick W. Kagan will moderate. READ MORE

Speaker biographies

Michael Connell is an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA). While at CNA, Dr. Connell has directed or authored several studies focusing on political, military, and security issues in the Middle East and south Asia. During the course of his military and academic careers, he has traveled extensively in those regions. He specializes in Iranian history and politics, and is currently conducting research on the role of the Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iranian national security decision-making. Before joining CNA, Dr. Connell served as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

Nicholas Eberstadt is the Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at AEI and senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research in Seattle. He serves on the advisory board of the Korea Economic Institute of America and is a founding member of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. Mr. Eberstadt regularly consults for governmental and international organizations, including the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. State Department, USAID, and World Bank. In 2006, he was appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics. He has published over 300 studies and articles in scholarly and popular journals, mainly on topics in demography, international development, and East Asian security. His dozen-plus books and monographs include The Poverty of Communism (Transaction, 1988), The Population of North Korea (Institute for East Asian Studies, 1992), The Tyranny of Numbers (AEI Press, 1995), The End of North Korea (AEI Press, 1999), Korea's Future and the Great Power (National Bureau of Asian Research, 2001) and the forthcoming North Korea's Economy Between Crisis and Catastrophe (Transaction Books).

Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Her research areas include the Middle East, south Asia, terrorism, and weapons proliferation. While at AEI, Ms. Pletka developed a conference series on rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq and a project on democracy in the Arab world. She recently served as a member of the congressionally-mandated Task Force on the United Nations, established by the United States Institute of Peace. Before coming to AEI, she served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and south Asia on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar in foreign policy studies at AEI, where he studies Arab democracy, Kurdish society, and domestic politics in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Prior to joining AEI, he served as a political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad from 2003 to 2004. Previously, he was a staff advisor for Iran and Iraq in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during 2002–2004. He is currently the editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

Gary Schmitt is a resident scholar and director of AEI’s Program on Advanced Strategic Studies. Prior to coming to AEI, he helped found and served as executive director of the Project for the New American Century, a Washington-based foreign and defense policy think tank. In the early 1980s, Dr. Schmitt was a member of the professional staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and, from 1982–1984, served as the committee’s minority staff director. In 1984, he was appointed by President Reagan to the post of executive director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the White House. Dr. Schmitt has written books and articles about a number of topics, including the American founding, the U.S. presidency, the American political system, intelligence and national security affairs.

Frederick W. Kagan is a resident scholar in defense and security policy studies. Previously he was an associate professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is the coauthor of While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and has written numerous articles on defense and foreign policy issues for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Weekly Standard, Policy Review, Commentary, Parameters, and other periodicals. His book Finding the Target (Encounter Books), an examination of military transformation, will come out later this year.)
Watch the video of the event.