Reconciliation and Cooperation with Iran, not Hostility, Is the Way Forward
President Trump seems to be reconciling with Saudi Arabia. Why does he not do so with Iran? The re-election of President Rouhani shows that Iranians want a more open society and normal relations with the world. Why, then, did President Trump declare that Iran should be isolated until its regime is changed?
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which bars Iran from building nuclear weapons and was agreed upon by the Obama Administration, European partners, and the UN, seemed to promise an end to decades-long hostility and sanctions. But after taking office, President Trump and his team ramped up the rhetoric against Iran, imposed new economic sanctions on Iranians and Iran-related firms, and issued the notorious executive ban on travel from Iran and several other Muslim-majority countries. Such action and rhetoric are unfortunate and dangerous.
We have no illusions about the Islamic Republic of Iran. One of us recently organized a meeting in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia that would provide training in political leadership for young Iranian women planning to run for office. Upon their return home, participants were interrogated and one detained. Because so many Iranians, including dual nationals, have been arrested or harassed, we have not been back to Iran in years. But the state