WHO: Hillary Mann Leverett, American University School of International Service Professor;former U.S. negotiator with Iran
WHAT: U.S.–Iran Bilateral Negotiations in Geneva
WHEN: June 10- ongoing
WHERE: American University, via telephone, in-studio
Hillary Mann Leverett, American University School of International Service professor, is author of Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran in which she argues America needs to renounce 34 years of failed policy and pursue genuine rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. From 2001-2003, Leverett was one of a handful of U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with Iranian officials over Afghanistan and al-Qa'ida.
Leverett is watching events in Geneva closely as top U.S. officials meet with Iranian negotiators to "jumpstart" the P5+1 talks with Iran for a comprehensive nuclear deal before the July 20 expiration of the current "interim" agreement.
About the chances for a nuclear deal with Iran Leverett says:
"This is the best chance the United States has had in over a decade to reach a nuclear deal and broader accommodation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a political order Washington has long denounced as "evil" and deserving of coercive regime chance."
Leverett says any deal would overturn the Bush doctrine:
"If an agreement is reached now on Iran's nuclear program, the gist of it would be that the United States effectively renounces the Bush doctrine and accepts that the Islamic Republic of Iran does indeed have a right to a peaceful nuclear program, including enrichment of uranium. The key point is not the numbers of centrifuges or levels of enrichment that negotiators are dissecting;the key point is a post-9/11 American recognition that a former member of President Bush's "Axis of Evil" can be treated like a normal state with rights and interests that need to be accommodated."
On future prospects should there be a breakthrough, Leverett says:
"Looking ahead, the best case scenario is that a nuclear deal becomes the catalyst for a "Nixon to China"-like opening between the United States and Iran, with President Obama even going to Tehran to restore the U.S. position in the Middle East and around the world as a great power capable of proactively shaping historical strategic outcomes."
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