In February 2010, the insideIRAN.org project at the Century Foundation and the National Security Network convened the first meeting of what will be a 12- to 18-month advisory group, bringing together Iranian activists with close ties to Iran’s Green Movement with European and American current and retired officials and diplomats. The group aims to improve understanding of the political crisis inside Iran, particularly the state of the regime and the opposition, and focus attention on policy steps that will be most effective in helping Iranians reform the political system without empowering the regime against either its own people or other nations.
At the group’s first meeting on February 19 in Washington, D.C., Iranian members of the advisory group developed a set of recommendations specifically addressing communications technology and how the U.S. and Western governments can foster connectivity and discourage government surveillance and repression.
A consensus was also reached that U.S. policy toward Iran should pursue a multitrack approach. Instead of viewing the policy options starkly as a choice between regime change or acquiescence to that repressive regime, the advisory group agreed that a more nuanced "middle way" should characterize U.S. policy. By keeping open the door to engagement, President Barack Obama keeps the onus on the Iranian regime, denying it the ability to cast the United States as an aggressive and recalcitrant actor. Combining this with clear support for human rights could also work to create greater democratic space in Iran.
A report generated by that meeting will be the focus of this panel discussion.
Ken Gude, Director of the International Justice and Security Program, Center for American Progress
Congressman Tom Perriello, (D-VA)
Geneive Abdo, Fellow and Iran analyst, The Century Foundation
Heather Hurlburt, Executive Director, National Security Network
Mehdi Yahyanejad, Internet entrepreneur
Jared Cohen, Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff
Matt Duss, National Security Researcher/Blogger, Center for American Progress
For a full transcript click here.