Yesterday, July 28, Admiral Jim Stavridis (Ret.) published an op-ed in Huffington Post describing why now is the right time to cooperate with Iran, especially when the country has been supporting Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria. He began by suggesting that the U.S. and Iran establish a rapport on common grounds, such as countering extremist organizations in Iraq and controlling drug traffic outside of Afghanistan. Cooperating on these things could help bring stability to the region. He then listed 5 reasons why we should reimagine the U.S.-Iranian relationship:
- Secular leader President Hassan Rouhani may be willing to consider a new version of the U.S.-Iran relationship.
- Sanctions have given us leverage that can be exploited. This is what brought Iran to the negotiating table.
- The Sunni extremist movement in the region is a threat to both countries and needs to be dealt with. Both countries will need to provide the Iraqi government with military support.
- Both countries have an interest in defeating pirate operations around the Horn of Africa and could cooperate by exchanging intelligence and information. Establishing protocols on how to diffuse confrontations in the Arabian Gulf would also prove beneficial.
- Iran and the U.S. have a shared interest in stopping the flow of opium and heroin from Afghanistan. These illicit drugs result in corruption and violence, and both countries could work together with drug enforcement teams.
Admiral Stavridis concluded with a Persian proverb in regards to the changing nature of U.S.-Iran relations:
“Necessity can change a lion into a fox.” The U.S. historically tends to approach foreign policy like a lion, which has its benefits, but it may be time to think more like a fox in our approach to the Persian state.
You can find the full op-ed here: Why This Is the Right Time to Cooperate With Iran
ASP supports the extension of the Iran negotiations, and believes that the best way to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis is through diplomatic means. Coupled with public diplomacy efforts, this could lead to a normalization of relations over time, bringing some stability to the region.
Theresa Shaffer is a nuclear security researcher and intern at the American Security Project. She is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas with degrees in International Studies and French. You can follow her on twitter here: Theresa Shaffer