Taking on Iran

Taking on Iran

Strength, Diplomacy, and the Iranian Threat

Author: Abraham D. Sofaer
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1634-3
Publication Date: 7/17/2013
Pages: 182

The threat posed by Iran to international peace and security is approaching a crisis. After compiling a thirty-year record as the world’s most active supporter of terrorism, Iran seems determined to develop nuclear weapons. In Taking on Iran, Abraham D. Sofaer argues that US policy toward Iran cannot be restricted to a strategy based on the two costly and potentially ineffective options of attacking Iran’s nuclear program or containing a nuclear-armed Iran. Economic sanctions and ineffective diplomacy have failed to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear arms ambitions. Sofaer explains that the United States should add to the pressure on Iran, going beyond economic sanctions and responding forcefully to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aggression, increasing the likelihood that Iran will negotiate in earnest and enabling the United States to engage Iran in the disciplined manner required for success.

The author outlines thirty years of IRGC aggression and the corresponding thirty years of US weakness by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Drawing from experience in dealing with the Soviet Union during the Reagan administration, he demonstrates that combining strength and diplomacy is the option most likely to convince Iran to comply with international law without either the war necessary to end Iran’s nuclear program or the danger in attempting to contain Iran after it acquires nuclear weapons.

Abraham D. Sofaer, who served as legal adviser to the US Department of State from 1985 to 1990, was appointed the first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1994. During his service as legal adviser, he was responsible for US/Iran negotiations at the Iran/US Tribunal in The Hague.


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Abraham D. Sofaer

Abraham D. Sofaer, who served as legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State from 1985 to 1990, was appointed the first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1994.

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Contents


Foreword by George P. Shultz

Acknowledgements

Introduction

1      Dealing with the Iranian Threat
        Regime Change
        Sanctions
        Negotiations and Direct Appeals
        Preventative Attack or Containment?
        An Alternative to Preventive Attack and Containment


2      Thirty Years of IRGC Aggression
        Lebanon
        Afghanistan
        Saudi Arabia
        United States
        Attacks on Other States
        Interference with Navigational Rights


3 Thirty Years of US Weakness
        Jimmy Carter
        Ronald Reagan
        George H.W. Bush
        William J. Clinton
        George W. Bush
        Barack Obama


4 Defending Against IRGC Attacks
        Legality of Defending Against IRGC Aggression
        Legitimacy of Defensive Measures Against the IRGC
        Covert Attacks
        Balance of Consequences


5 Beyond Strength: Effective Diplomacy
        Rhetorical Restraint
        Regime Engagement
        Limited Linkage
        A Broad Agenda
        Form Flexibility


Conclusion

Notes

About the Author

Index



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