Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Iran"

The Iran Nuclear Agreement and Reform in Iran

by Elliott Abrams

It was widely assumed that with the end of sanctions, Iran would “join the world” and become a less repressive state. To take just one example, the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo argued in Huffington Post that the nuclear deal created “the opportunity for Iranian civic actors to enable and empower Iran’s civil society space” and “help the country to become more open, transparent and susceptible to international pressure on issues like the death penalty and the imprisonment of civic actors in Iran.” Last summer Reuters carried this story: “Iranian pro-democracy activists, lawyers and artists have thrown their weight behind last month’s nuclear deal with world powers, hoping it will lead to a promised political opening that President Hassan Rouhani has so far failed to deliver.” Read more »

Iran Sacks Another Embassy

by Elliott Abrams

Today the Isamic Republic of Iran decided to sack another embassy building in Tehran, that of Saudi Arabia.

According to the AP, “Protesters in Iran, angered by the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday, setting fires and throwing papers from the roof….” Later, the invasion and sacking were denounced by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Read more »

Lebanon’s “Worthless” Government and the Fight Over the Presidency

by Elliott Abrams

It is rare for the prime minister of any country to call its government “worthless,” but Prime Minister Tammam Salam of Lebanon just did. For 19 months Lebanon has been unable to elect a president, and its government is largely paralyzed. Even collecting the garbage has been a problem, leading to the creation of a protest group called “You Stink” whose name reflects what happens when refuse is left in the streets. Read more »

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Confirmed

by Elliott Abrams

The nuclear deal with Iran requires that it tell the truth–the whole truth–about its previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon.

As Sen. Mark Kirk said this week,

senior Administration officials repeatedly told the American people that Iran should come clean on all nuclear weapons activities as part of any final deal: Read more »

Unraveling the Iran Nuclear Deal on “Day One”

by Elliott Abrams

Two of the Republican candidates for president, Gov. Scott Walker and Gov. Jeb Bush, are in an argument over how the United States can best get out of the Obama nuclear agreement. This argument has now become the subject of press comment too: for example, by Steve Hayes in an article entitled “Bush-Walker Dispute Catches Fire Over Iran Nuclear Deal” in The Weekly Standard, and by CFR’s own Max Boot in a Commentary blog post entitled “Can the Iran Deal be Reversed on Day One?” Read more »

Iran’s War in Syria

by Elliott Abrams

The war in Syria is becoming increasingly an Iranian war rather than a civil war.

Consider this new report by Now Lebanon, entitled “Syria Alawites reportedly clash with regime, Iran troops.” Two facts are striking. First, the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad is having enormous trouble recruiting Alawite youths to join the military. It has long been said that the Alawite community is his base and will fight for him, if only out of fear that if the regime falls they will pay the price when Sunnis attack Alawites. But more and more Alawites, it seems, do not wish to risk their lives for Assad. This should not be quite so surprising, because only the Alawite upper classes benefitted financially from the regime (and some became millionaires and even billionaires), while many Alawites remained in poverty. Read more »

Obama on Iran and Syria: See No Evil

by Elliott Abrams

The slaughter in Syria and the awful human rights violations in Iran cannot be denied by the Obama administration, but they sure can be downplayed and ignored.

On the Iran point, consider the release yesterday, four months late, of the State Department’s annual human rights reports. The reports were presented by Secretary of State Kerry and Assistant Secretary for human rights Tom Malinowski.  The Iran report is tough. Here’s an excerpt: Read more »

A Sad Anniversary as Iran’s Brutalization of the Baha’i Continues

by Elliott Abrams

This week marks a landmark in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s crimes against that country’s small Baha’i community: Seven years ago this week the regime imprisoned seven peaceful Baha’i leaders. What is the true nature of Iran’s clerical regime? The answer is visible in its continuing brutal treatment of this religious minority, just 300,000 people in a nation of 70 million—less than one half of one percent of the population. Read more »

Reminders About Iran

by Elliott Abrams

During the three-month period between April 2 and June 30, Iran and the P5+1 are supposed to negotiate a comprehensive agreement about Iran’s nuclear program. The United States has been careful not to exacerbate relations with Iran, with the Obama administration trying hard not to upset any apple carts. The theory seems to be that there are hardliners in Iran (who are just like our own hardliners, the administration appears to believe) and we mustn’t annoy them. Read more »