September 12, 2008

Iran: Assessing U.S. Strategic Options

By Ashton B. Carter, Dennis Ross, Richard N. Haass, Suzanne Maloney and Vali Nasr

Dealing with Iran and its nuclear program will be an urgent priority for the next president. In order to evaluate U.S. policy options, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) convened a bipartisan group of experts on foreign policy and national security, retired military personnel, former diplomats and other government officials, and specialists on Iran and the region. Ambassador Dennis Ross presented a paper on diplomatic strategies for dealing with Iran, and Dr. Suzanne Maloney wrote on potential Iranian responses. Dr. Ashton Carter evaluated various U.S. military options, and Dr. Vali Nasr described likely Iranian reactions and other potential impacts. Ambassador Richard Haass considered the challenges of living with a nuclear Iran. Each of these papers represents an important contribution to a much-needed national discussion on U.S. policy toward Iran. Based on these papers and expert group discussion, as well as additional research and analysis, three CNAS authors (Dr. James Miller, Christine Parthemore, and Dr. Kurt Campbell) proposed that the next administration pursue “game-changing diplomacy” with Iran. While both Iran and the international community would be better off if Iran plays ball, game-changing diplomacy is designed to improve prospects for the United States and the international community irrespective of how Iran responds.

Watch a discussion of this report's first draft at our June 2008 conference:

  • Ashton B. Carter

  • Dennis Ross

  • Richard N. Haass

  • Suzanne Maloney

  • Vali Nasr

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