Introductory remarks by Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Distinguished Fellow and Chairman Emeritus at the Stimson Centre, former Assistant Secretary of State for Military Affairs. He chaired a panel discussion on “Policy on Iran” in Paris, 29 June 2018, organized jointly by FEMO and APA. Participants in the panel included:
• Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy and Ambassador to the UN
• Linda Chavez, former Director of the White House public liaison
• Adam Ereli, Ambassador, former spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State and Ambassador to Bahrain
• Robert Torricelli, Member of the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2003; served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives
• Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of the “South Asia Democratic Forum” based in Brussels, former member of European Parliament
• Maria S. Ryan, President and CEO of Cottage Hospital, Woodsville, New Hampshire
I’m Lincoln Bloomfield and we’re going to talk this morning about policy on Iran. The question is whose policy on Iran? We have here a very distinguished panel, present company excluded, of Americans and Italian and Portugal.
We have European and American perspectives, but there is also the Iran perspective, so I’m hopeful that we can talk a little bit about the American side of policy on Iran, the European side, whether the two—our traditional allies, whether they can agree on policy on Iran, and ultimately whose policy are we talking about? And that would be the 80 million people of Iran. I will start simply by to introduce the subject and then we will go from your left to the right. We’ll come right across and I’ll introduce the panelists.
You saw 10, 15 years ago the Americans and the United Nations were imposing a lot of sanctions on Iran, because there was no trust on the question of the secret nuclear program that was exposed by the organized opposition, the NCRI, in 2003. After that, President Obama entered into negotiations at the invitation initiative of Iran and extended an olive branch, looking for understanding between the United States and the Iranian regime. Five years later, there was a nuclear agreement but not a lot of trust. In fact, Iran became very aggressive to its neighbors and engaged in gross human rights abuses, even more so after negotiations began.
And so President Trump has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement which creates an issue with the US and Europe. And the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, has listed 12 demands. Some people say that this is a very hard line. It’s an impossible bar for Iran to meet in order to satisfy the Americans, but every one of the 12 demands has to do with aggression and secret nuclear enrichment and lack of information and disclosure about the nuclear program, as well as ballistic missiles and aggression against Syria, against Yemen, against the rest of the Middle East and terror groups.