Wednesday, October 08, 2008

US Foreign Policy Recommendations for Iran

One of the most challenging assignments I took part in during my university days was to come up with a comprehensive U.S. foreign policy towards Iran. I thoroughly enjoyed Professor David Mednicoff's course on U.S. - Middle East relations during the Spring 2005 Semester. When our group had to choose a country for our foreign policy project, we put Iran at the top of the list. According to our wishes, we were assigned Iran and delved into the background research we needed to shape our policy. At the end the course, we had to present our policy to the group. In order to save our classmates the boredom of listening to us rattle off facts and recommendations, we decided to put a little creative "spin" on the presentation. We presented our policy in the form of a breaking news interview on "The O'Reilly Factor." Here's our script if you want to learn more about our policy recommendations for Iran, or if you want to just have a good laugh! Some facts are slightly outdated as this presentation was given in May 2005.

Cast of Characters:

Sana Hussain: herself & women's rights activist Gugush Mazjoubi
Harlan Knipes: Bill O' Reilly
Aaron : The intellectual Arash Reza Nekshabani
Heather Carreiro: Senator Bobbie Joe Baker (D-Texas)

All characters, aside from Bill O'Reilly, are completely made up and bear absolutely no resemblance to anyone we've heard of!

Sana: Good Evening, this is Sana Hussain live in Tehran where we have some breaking news. There has been a radical shift in U.S. policy towards Iran. After 26 years of our relationship with Iran being in an official state of emergency, both the U.S. and Iran have taken steps to normalize relations. In the interest of increasing both regional and global security, as well as universal human rights and ensuring open trade between the two countries, the U.S. has agreed to attend a U.N. summit meeting in Geneva in order to address the issues that have for so long caused animosity between the two countries. The summit, which will focus on improving American-Iranian relations as well as regional security, will be attended by world leaders including the EU-3, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and King Fahad of Saudi Arabia. More about this breaking news on the no spin zone. Here's your host Bill O'Reilly and I'm Sana Hussain, live in Tehran.

Harlan: Tonight we have a serious show where we will be addressing the new policy put forth by the administration to normalize relations with Iran. Since 1979, U.S. policy towards Iran has been based on containment and isolation. In order to curb the spread of the Iranian revolution, stop state sponsorship of terrorism, and prevent the development of nuclear weapons, Washington has focused on keeping Iran isolated both economically and politically. The U.S. government has been hoping that the ILSA sanctions will lead to the downfall of the radical theocratic regime in Tehran. Aside from this, the Iran Democracy Act, drafted for the promotion of democratic change in Iran, has provided $57 million to opposition movements within the country. Iran has been considered a rogue state and a member of the "Axis of Evil," but this new policy seeks to eliminate such language in a move towards normal diplomatic relations and political engagement.

Personally, I am taken aback by the news of this new policy, but here with me tonight is Arash Reza Nekshabani president of the Iranian-American Alliance for Reform, Senator Bobbie Joe Baker of Texas who helped push the bill through Congress, and Gugush Mazjoubi of the Iranian Women's Rights Watch. Both the Iranian-American Alliance for Reform and Iranian Women's Rights Watch were involved in drafting the engagement policy.

So my first question for you, Senator Baker, is that after so many years of non-engagement, what are the issues that have played a role in determining this change in policy? Why is Iran important to us?

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US Foreign Policy Recommendations for Iran

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