Navigate to News section

Beinart Hosts ‘Future of US-Iran Relations’ Debate in NYC

There will be snacks, if you can get in

Jonathan Zalman
May 08, 2015
President Obama delivers remarks on negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program on April 2, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Obama delivers remarks on negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program on April 2, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, May 12, Peter Beinart, author of The Crisis of Zionism, will facilitate a panel called “The Future of US-Iran Relations” at The Graduate Center at CUNY, where he’s an associate professor. Beinart will host “two experts with decidedly different perspectives:” Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and Trita Parsi, who heads the National Iranian American Council.

Here are links to three recent articles that discuss the context of the proposed nuclear agreement between the U.S. and Iran, written by each speaker:

I think the details [of the nuclear deal framework] are far, far better than the alternative—which was a collapse of the diplomatic process, a collapse of international sanctions as Russia and China went back to business as usual with Tehran, and a collapse of the world’s ability to send inspectors into Iran. But ultimately, the details aren’t what matters. What matters is the potential end of America’s 36-year-long cold war with Iran.

For the United States, ending that cold war could bring three enormous benefits. First, it could reduce American dependence on Saudi Arabia. First, it could reduce American dependence on Saudi Arabia… What George W. Bush failed to achieve militarily, Barack Obama may now be achieving diplomatically.

Doran in Mosaic magazine: Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy

As far as the president is concerned, the less we know about his Iran plans, the better…

…Most recently, Leslie Gelb, a former government official and past president of the Council on Foreign Relations, has charged that “the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national-security policy,” and has urged the president to replace the entire inner core of his advisers with “strong and strategic people of proven … experience.”

…but there is no lack of strategic vision. Quite the contrary: a strategy has been in place from the start, and however clumsily it may on occasion have been implemented, and whatever resistance it has generated abroad or at home, Obama has doggedly adhered to the policies that have flowed from it.

…In his negotiations with Iran, the president has traded major American concessions for Iranian gestures of temporary restraint. These concessions will likely never be reversed.
The regional impact of the world powers and Iran making a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program will be significant to say the least. It will mark a new era in the Middle East; one in which the US and Iran no longer will seek to undermine each other at every given opportunity. In this era of truce, the US and Iran can dialogue about regional problems rather than seeing the absence of diplomacy exacerbate existing conflicts.

…There are no quick fixes. But at least one major obstacle appears to have been overcome: The U.S. and Iran can now talk to each other, consult with each other and even quietly coordinate their policies as the region confronts the chaos burning the Middle East. That’s nothing short of a game changer.

The event, which is free to attend, is sold out.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.