Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Iran Strategy Task Force

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

In March 2011, Freedom House and the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), organizations that have been closely associated with neoconservative advocacy efforts, created the Iran Strategy Task Force in an effort to “formulate new approaches to dealing with Iran and make recommendations after meeting with key policymakers in the Obama Administration, Members and Staff in the U.S. Congress, other experts from the U.S. and abroad, and the diplomatic community.”[1]

Commenting on the task force, Politico’s Ben Smith wrote, “With democratic revolutions shaking the Middle East, a Democratic think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, and the pro-democracy group Freedom House are launching a new task force aimed at shifting American policy on its central regional foe, Iran, toward a more aggressive focus on democracy.”[2]

Jim Arkedis of PPI wrote, “We’re calling the task force Beyond Sanction: The Next Iran Strategy, a nod to the necessity of bringing fresh ideas and new life into the debate on how to handle Tehran. As Iran defiantly continues efforts to construct a nuclear device, it has become glaringly clear in the wake of the 2009 Tehran protests in response to the country’s sham presidential elections that the regime lacks popular legitimacy. In the context of recent upheavals across North Africa and the Middle East, it’s important to remember that the pro-democracy movement began not in Tunisia, but in Iran.”[3]

Steve Clemons of the Washington Note offered a cautious response to the group’s launching, writing in his blog, “I think America's options on Iran are limited right now—and depend somewhat on how growing fissures and feuds among Iran's ruling elites evolve, but short of adding another war to America's already too full plate, I'm interested in what the Task Force comes up with. If it's a roster of a long list of other coercive measures, I'm doubtful the Task Force will move the US-Iran policy needle very much.”[4]

At its launching, task force members included a number of people closely associated with the “Israel lobby” as well as several high-profile proponents of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the Iraq. Chairing the task force were PPI’s Josh Block, a former spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Freedom House’s Andrew Apostolou, a former director of research at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Other members included Jim Arkedis, PPI; Rafael Bardají, Atlantic Council; Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland;
Ken Pollack, Saban Center for Middle East Policy; Steve Beckerman, AIPAC; Renee Redman, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center;
Ray Takeyh, Council on Foreign Relations;
Michael Adler, Woodrow Wilson Center; and Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The task force also had an advisory council whose members were David J. Kramer, Freedom House; Will Marshall, PPI;
Larry Diamond, Stanford University;
Rob Satloff, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and
Walter Russell Mead, Bard College.

In an email to Politico, PPI’s Marshall said, “PPI believes a more democratic world is a safer world. The United States has failed to apply that principle to Iran, even as popular movements for freedom spread throughout the Middle East. It’s time for a new approach.”[5]

Apostolou told Smith, “The dominant issues in the Middle East are democracy and freedom. The Iran regime thinks that it can escape demands for change. The United States, and its allies, therefore need a strategy that will help Iranians attain the human rights they so richly deserve.”[6]

According to a write up of the task force in The Atlantic, “The point of the group is not to criticize the Obama administration, but to supply it with strategic options. … The administration’s initial policy was an attempt ‘to test Iran and give Iran a chance to say we are serious about talking about our nuclear regime, and I think the Iranian response was loud and clear that [Iran was] not serous,’ Apostolou said. ‘What are you supposed to do, after 30 years … the same thing?’”[7]

Share RightWeb

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources

[1]Freedom House, “Press Release: Freedom House and Progressive Policy Institute announce Iran Strategy Task Force,” March 30, 2011, http://freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=1377.


[2]Ben Smith, “New Iran group to press White House on democracy,” Politico, March 29, 2011, http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0311/New_Iran_group_to_press_White_House_on_democracy.html?showall#.

[3]Jim Arkedis, ,” Beyond Sanction: The Next Iran Strategy,” PPI, the Progressive Fix, March 31, 2011, http://www.progressivefix.com/beyond-sanction-the-next-iran-strategy.

[4]Steve Clemons, “Could There be a Useful Nuclear Allergy Evolving in Iran?” Washington Note, March 30, 2011, http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/03/could_there_be/.

[5]Ben Smith, “New Iran group to press White House on democracy,” Politico, March 29, 2011, http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0311/New_Iran_group_to_press_White_House_on_democracy.html?showall#.

[6]Ben Smith, “New Iran group to press White House on democracy,” Politico, March 29, 2011, http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0311/New_Iran_group_to_press_White_House_on_democracy.html?showall#.

[7]The Atlantic, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/03/new-coalition-to-focus-on-human-rights-democracy-in-iran/73237/.


Share RightWeb

Iran Strategy Task Force Résumé

Contact Information

Josh Block
Progressive Policy Institute
1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW Suite 308
Washington DC 20036
Tel: 202-525-3926
Fax: 202-525-3941
Email: Jblock@PPIonline.org

Task Force Members (as of March 2011)

  • Andrew Apostolou, co-chair, Freedom House
  • Joshua Block, co-chair, Progressive Policy Institute
  • Jim Arkedis, Progressive Policy Institute
  • Rafael Bardají, Atlantic Council
  • Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland
  • Ken Pollack, Saban Center for Middle East Policy
  • Steve Beckerman, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
  • Renee Redman, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
  • Ray Takeyh, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Michael Adler, Woodrow Wilson Center


Task Force Advisory Council (as of March 2011)

  • David J. Kramer, Freedom House
  • Will Marshall, Progressive Policy Institute
  • Larry Diamond, Stanford University
  • Rob Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Walter Russell Mead, Bard College

Related:

Iran Strategy Task Force News Feed

COLUMN-Why Europe fears collapse of the Iran nuclear deal - Thomson Reuters Foundation[ANALYSIS] Why Europe fears collapse of the Iran nuclear deal - EWNTrump Should Cut Hezbollah’s Lifeline in the Americas - Foreign PolicyDon’t trust the intel when it comes to Iran’s nuke program | TheHill - The HillIDF forces raid family home of Palestinian suspect in Ofra attack — reports - The Times of IsraelTrump's crude hostility is pushing Pakistan toward America's foes: China, Russia - even Iran - Haaretz2019 Annual Forecast - Stratfor WorldviewA Flawed American Sanctions Policy on Iran - LobeLogExclusive: Iran's Zarif speaks about US sanctions, Saudi 'assassination plots', and an Arab NATO - The New ArabU.S. Syria Policy Is a Strategic Failure - LobeLogThe Iranian Albatross That Trump Has Hung Around His Own Neck - Mintpress NewsPOLITICO Playbook: Two sides tussle over gov't funding extension, and Bush arrival details - POLITICOMike Pompeo sets up new taskforce to keep pressure on Iran - The NationalUS, Israel set up task force to stoke internal pressure in Iran – report - The Times of IsraelTrump’s Iran Strategy: Regime Change on the Cheap - New York MagazineSenate Move to Block Arms Sales to Bahrain Would Undermine US Interests - Daily SignalCan the US military save the country from a Christmas shutdown? - Washington ExaminerA comprehensive strategy that secures real and lasting changes in Iran’s behavior | TheHill - The HillNavy's mission in Middle East gets new leader after admiral's sudden death - Stars and StripesPakistan, Iran and the Financial Fight Against Terrorism - STRATFOR

Right Web is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Right Web Mission

Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

U.S. supporters of Israel are in a bind: public opinion is changing; there are more actors publicly challenging Israel; and the crude, heavy-handed tactics they have successfully used in the past to silence criticism now only aggravate the situation.


As the civilian death toll from Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen grows and the backlash against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in Khashoggi’s murder escalates, former Sen. Norm Coleman’s control of Republican Party campaign purse strings positions him as a key influencer of Republican congressional action, or inaction, in curtailing the increasingly aggressive and reckless actions of Saudi Arabia.


Increasingly, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are positioned as rivals, each with pretensions to Middle Eastern influence or even hegemony. It’s not clear whether they can continue to coexist without one or the other—or both—backing down. This has made it more difficult for the United States to maintain its ties with both countries.


What does President Trump’s recent nomination of retired Army General John Abizaid to become the next U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia signify? Next to nothing — and arguably quite a lot.


The Donald Trump administration’s handling of nuclear negotiations with Saudi Arabia promises to lay bare some realities about security issues and nuclear programs in that part of the world that the administration has refused to acknowledge.


Eminent U.S. foreign policy expert Stephen Walt’s new book critique’s the “liberal hegemony” grand strategy that has dominated U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.


(Lobelog)  Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told LobeLog he will remain on the board of the Gatestone Institute, a right-wing think tank that receives money from Trump megadonors Robert and Rebekah Mercer and disseminates anti-Muslim and anti-refugee conspiracy theories. Last week, LobeLog reported that Dershowitz received $120,000 from the Gatestone Institute in 2017 and…


RightWeb
share