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"

Friedman: There He Goes Again

by Elliott Abrams

Here’s an interesting quote:

Never have I seen Israel and America’s core Arab allies working more in concert to stymie a major foreign policy initiative of a sitting U.S. president, and never have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s. I’m certain this comes less from any careful consideration of the facts and more from a growing tendency by many American lawmakers to do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations. Read more »

The Case of the Phony Fatwa

by Elliott Abrams

It’s common knowledge that Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Khamenei, has issued a fatwa banning the possession of nuclear weapons.

This “fact” has recently been cited by President Obama and by Secretary of State Kerry. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, the President said
Read more »

Are Iran Sanctions a “March to War?”

by Elliott Abrams

White House spokesman Jay Carney yesterday called any effort to adopt additional sanctions against Iran “a march to war.”  Here, from The Cable, is the quote:

It is important to understand that if pursuing a resolution diplomatically is disallowed or ruled out, what options, then, do we and our allies have to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon? The American people do not want a march to war. Read more »

Meanwhile, Back in Iran…

by Elliott Abrams

The Obama administration has bought into what my colleague at CFR Ray Takeyh calls the “Rouhani narrative:” Rouhani is a reformer, Iran is ripe for change and reform, progress is at hand. As in the Cold War days when we were told we needed to compromise to “help the reformers in the Kremlin,” so today we must not be too tough in negotiations lest we weaken Rouhani and his reformist brethren. Read more »

Is Israel the “Bad Cop” on Iran?

by Elliott Abrams

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN put forth Israel’s view of Iran, but Israel is in a tough position.

As I write in Foreign Affairs today, Israelis “do not wish to play the bad cop role in an American game with Iran — and, in fact, the metaphor is misleading. In the good cop/bad cop routine, both officers are on the same team and are carefully coordinating their approaches. In this case, the Israelis fear, the bad cop wants to see the criminals jailed, and the good cop is open to a sweet plea bargain. If that’s what the Iranians get, they will sit back and smile while the United States and Israel end up in a bitter argument.” Read more »

Can Iran Be Stopped?

by Elliott Abrams

Over the last two years many of those–including me–who urged American intervention in Syria have been called various names: neocons, dangerous idealists, adventurers, fools who were forgetting the lessons of Iraq, and so on. But recently alarm has been spreading about developments in Syria, and the Obama administration’s handling of the situation is eliciting more and more criticism from sources usually considered “prudent” or pro-Obama or non-interventionist (and David Ignatius is a good example). Read more »

Iran’s Presidential Candidates: Two Are Terrorist Suspects, One Boasts of Beating Students

by Elliott Abrams

The disqualification of most of the men who sought to run in Iran’s presidential election has left a narrow field distinguished by allegations of involvement in terrorism and repression.

Both Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati are thought to have been involved in planning and approving 1994 attack on the Jewish community’s headquarters in Buenos Aires, an act of terror that killed 85 people. Rezai was the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard at the time of the attack and Velayati was Minister of Foreign Affairs. There is actually an Interpol warrant, a “Red Notice,” out for Rezai. Read more »

Rafsanjani: “Moderate” or Terrorist?

by Elliott Abrams

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has now declared his candidacy for president of Iran, and many Western media accounts suggest that he is the kind of “moderate” who could radically change Iran’s conduct and its relations with the United States.  The Guardian in London referred to him as “the 79-year-old moderate politician famous for his pragmatism.” The BBC says he is “seen as a moderate.” France 24 calls him “this pragmatic moderate.” The Associated Press refers to him as a “moderate former president.” There are many others examples. Read more »