Barack Obama must rethink U.S. policy toward , eschewing confrontation and failed attempts to isolate Tehran through sanctions, according to a group of experts and former diplomats.
Tackling Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be one of Obama’s main foreign policy challenges after he takes office on January 20. He has said he would harden sanctions but has also held out the possibility of direct talks.
The panel of 20 experts, who include academics and former U.S. ambassadors, warned against a military attack on Iran and called for unconditional negotiations, saying it was the only viable option to break “a cycle of threats and defiance”.
“An attack would almost certainly backfire … and long experience has shown that prospects for successfully coercing Iran through achievableare remote at best,” they said in a joint statement to be presented to a conference on the future of U.S.-Iran relations next week.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles during a meeting with Iraqi former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari in Tehran in October 2008. Barack Obama may have pledged during his campaign to talk to Iran’s leaders, but he could fall into a trap by replying to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory letter, analysts warn.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)