Course number: MLMLA 6393: Current Issues on U.S. Foreign PolicyStudent: Syeda RizviAdj. Professor Armando Armendariz, JDSemester: Summer I, 2013Final ExamUnited States Foreign Policy with Iran 2012-2013What is the physical and human geography of Iran like?Physically, Iran consists of a complex of mountain chains enclosing a series of interiorbasins that lie at altitudes of 1,000 to 4,000 feet above sea-level. These mountain ranges risesteeply from sea-level on the North and on the south, and equally abruptly from the very flat andextremely low-lying plain of Mesopotamia to the west. Eastward, and also in the extreme north-west, the highlands extend beyond Iran in the form of largely continuous and uninterruptedfeatures: in the first area they are prolonged as the massifs of Afghanistan and Baluchistan (WestPakistan), and in the north-west as the plate uplands of Russian Azerbaijan and eastern AsiaMinor.What have US-Iranian relations been like historically?The history between the U.S. and Iran is a continuous source of conflict with the potentialto explode into a more severe conflict with global consequences.- Iranian Hostage Crisis On November 4, 1979,: a group of Iranian students stormed theAmerican Embassy in Tehran and took 63 American Embassy personnel hostage. The specificgrievance of the students (the hostage takers) focused on the Shah and his relationship with theU.S. In October 1979,
- Beyond the Hostage Crisis: Within a day of Reagan taking the oath of presidency, the hostageswere released and returned stateside. However, during President Reagans administration, therewas little to no improvement in U.S.-Iran relations. In 1983, Hezbollah conducted a series ofanti-American terrorist attacks, and in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Iransupported the terrorist organization. The Iran-Contra scandal followed the Hezbollah attacks.During the Iran-Contra scandal, the U.S. illegally sold weapons to Iran and used the profits tosupport the Contras in Nicaragua.Thawing Relations: The election of reformist Mohammad Khatami in 1997 brought a sense ofoptimism for U.S.-Iran relations. Throughout his campaign and post-election, Khatami expressedthat he wanted to improve Iranian relations with the U.S. In his first major campaign speech,Khatami suggested that if the U.S. changed its bad behavior, the U.S. and Iran could have normalrelations.[vi] This was a major shift from the past leadership of Khomeini who believed that Iranand the U.S. could never have normal relations.Axis of Evil : There have been no improvements in U.S.-Iran relations during the BushAdministration. In his State of the Union Address in 2002, President Bush labeled Iran as part ofthe ‘Axis of Evil, outraging the Iranian leadership. Iran responded with a public statement: "theIslamic Republic is proud to be a target of the hate and anger of the worlds greatest evil; wenever seek to be praised by American officials."Implications of U.S.-Iran Relations
← U.S.-Iran relations are linked to the energy interests and security of theinternational community. Over 20 percent of world oil supply is transported daily throughthe Strait. If already tense relations were to escalate between the U.S. and Iran, Iran couldretaliate by attempting to close or disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. This, in turn,may result in an armed confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, which undoubtedlyinvolve the Middle East region as a whole.What is nuclear proliferation?Nuclear proliferation is the increasing worldwide availability of nuclear weapons, nuclearknowledge, and nuclear materials such as enriched uranium or plutonium. It has long been astated concern of politicians and nuclear arms control advocates, though the actual effort devotedto such goals has varied. Nuclear weapons technology was first developed by the ManhattanProject of the United States in July 1945.The controversy surrounding Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology.Iran’s nuclear weapons program was part of a broader attempt to become more self-reliant in arms and technology in the 1980s. Increasingly isolated, Tehran struggled to acquirearms to fight Iraq, which used chemical weapons and had a nuclear weapons program. The eight-year war was the Middle East’s bloodiest modern conflict. Iran’s nuclear program was anoutgrowth of this experience.Ways in which the United States has applied its diplomatic, economic, and military tools tothe current situation with Iran:1. Permanently stopping all open and safeguarded enrichment in Iran
2. Maximizing U.S. security so that Iran is locked in to a system of comprehensive safeguardsand surveillance nationwide.3. Giving diplomacy time to be effective.4. Promoting democracy and freedom in Iran effectively – through self-restraint.4. Open a dialog to pursue common interests in Iraq and Afghanistan.5. Convincing Israel that restraint is in its interest and reenergizing the Arab-Israeli peaceprocess.The Uncertain Result: Giving Diplomacy Near Term Priority But Building New Levels ofContainment, Deterrence, and SecuritySanctions and diplomacy are the best of a bad (or at least highly uncertain) set of options,but it is far from clear that they will stop Iran‘s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability.The lack of diplomatic progress, and the appearance that the Iranians are stalling for time,negotiations may still be successful. Successful negotiations might also bring about long-termchanges in the US-Iranian relationship.Pressuring Iran to halt its nuclear program was again the top U.S. diplomatic concern,and U.S.-inspired economic sanctions imposed by Western allies on the Iranian regime continuedto weaken the country’s oil exports, currency, and economy. The measures failed to producenegotiation breakthroughs during 2012, however, much to the dismay of the Israeli government,which had applied pressure for an allied (or unilateral) military strike on Iran’s nuclearcapability. U.S.-Israeli relations were strained throughout the year. While restraining Israel,Washington also quietly negotiated with Persian Gulf allies to cooperate on a missile-defensesystem to counter any future Iranian threat. The standoff produced competing cyberattacks,including penetration of Iranian official computers by a mysterious data-mining virus named
Flame, countered by a wave of cyberattacks on U.S. banks and allied energy firms attributed toIranian hackers.Four key aspects of US and Iranian strategic competition - sanctions, energy, armscontrol, and regime change. Its primary focus is on the ways in which the sanctions applied toIran have changed US and Iranian competition since the fall of 2011. This escalation has beenspurred by the creation of a series of far stronger US unilateral sanctions and the EU‘s impositionof equally strong sanctions – both of which affect Iran‘s ability to export, its financial system andits overall economy.The US has instituted four major acts sanctioning Iran, impacting hundreds of companies,people, and assets. These include: The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, andDivestment Act of 2010 (signed July 1, 2010), FY 2012 NDAA (signed December 31, 2011),Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (signed August 10, 2012), and FY2013 NDAA (signed January 2, 2013), They have cut off Iran from the international bankingsystem; declared the entire Iranian banking sector as money laundering entities; increased thenumber of sanctions the president is to impose; targeted Iran‘s petrochemical industry, the CBI,the financial sector, and transportation infrastructure; and forced countries to curtail theirpurchases of Iranian oil in the face of sanctions.To what extent have the above points been successful in U.S. ForeignPolicy with Iran?After many years of mutual hostility, no one should expect that engaging Iran will beeasy. It certainly wont be quick. The recent crackdown will make it much more difficult, andperhaps impossible. But past policies based on threats and sanctions clearly have not worked.Diplomacy, even under the present circumstances, has a much greater chance of success.
Much now depends on how the US and EU sanctions effort is handled in the future. TheObama Administration and Congress are steadily tightening sanctions, but it is doing so carefullyand in ways that focus on multilateral, rather than unilateral US action. Additional sanctions willbe pursued gradually and in ways that maximize multilateral buy-in. The Iranian financial, oil,transportation, and petrochemical sectors will continue to be isolated to the extent possible. Andthe Administration will attempt to inform and empower population centers within Iran throughchannels such as the State Department‘s ―Virtual Embassy program, in hopes that an‖opposition movement will again challenge the regimeBibliography"United States: Year In Review 2012." Britannica Book of the Year, . Encyclopedia BritannicaOnline Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 01 June 2013.<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1886096/United-States-Year-In-Review-2012>.
United States: Year In Review 2012. (2013). In Britannica Book of the Year, . Retrieved fromhttp://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1886096/United-States-Year-In-Review-2012http://strausscenter.org/strauss-articles/strauss-contact.html retreived 06/01/2013http://americanforeignpolicy.org retrieved 06/01/2013