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.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement and Reform in Iran

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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 »

“Every One Shall Sit in Safety Under His Own Vine and Fig Tree”

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, January 13, 2016

In August, 1790 George Washington visited Newport, Rhode Island. That visit occasioned a famous exchange of letters between Washington and the “Hebrew Congregations of Newport,” in which the Jews of Newport addressed their president–and he replied.

Several sentences from Washington’s letter came to mind today: Read more »

Iran Sacks Another Embassy

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, January 3, 2016

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 »

Reassuring, Not Challenging, Iran

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Since the signing of the nuclear deal with Islamic Republic of Iran, that government has treated the Obama administration with contempt. U.S. officials might have hoped Iran’s conduct would improve, but it has worsened. Iran sent more Revolutionary Guard troops to fight in Syria, for example; it conducted two ballistic missile tests in violation of a Security Council resolution; leaders continue to chant “Death to America;” and it has imprisoned more Americans. Read more »

Cuban Political Prisoners Measure the Impact of Obama’s Cuba Policy

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, December 19, 2015

This past week marked the anniversary of President Obama’s new Cuba policy.

That policy is failing to produce any human rights improvements in Cuba. So this week, 126 Cuban former political prisoners–who together have served 1,945 years in Castro’s prisons, wrote a letter to Mr. Obama about his policy. It was delivered to the White House by Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez, a former political prisoner and poet who spent more than 22 years in Cuba’s prisons. Read more »