War with Iran: Regional Reactions and Requirements

On June 20, 2008, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony addressed the Middle East Policy Council’s (MEPC) 53rd Capitol Hill Conference on “War with Iran: Regional Reactions and Requirements.”

Following, courtesy of MEPC, is an unofficial transcription and revised version of Dr. Anthony’s presentation together with additional commentary and responses to questions asked during the discussion that followed, edited for written publication.

Among the topics covered were:

  • whether and why either the United States and/or Israel might attack Iran at some indeterminate point in the period between now and the inauguration of the next American president and/or the next Israeli prime minister;
  • how the absence of U.S.-Iran trade and investment ties have contributed to the long standoff between them;
  • how Israel-centric objectives figure into the overall context of the drumbeat favoring an attack against Iran;
  • additional largely undeclared reasons why some Americans and Israelis want to attack Iran, including an overarching goal of regime change not entirely dissimilar from the previous regime change objective achieved in neighboring Iraq; and
  • the pros and cons of an American private diplomatic initiative to Iran in the unlikely but possible event the United States and its Great Power associates were to conclude that diplomacy has failed and the only remaining alternatives would be either (a) to enact and enforce ever more stringent sanctions against Iran, approximating a stranglehold on its economy or (b) acquiescence to the use of whatever other means necessary, including the use of military might, to impose the international community’s will upon Iran with a view to forcing it to cease the uranium fuel enrichment and reprocessing activities associated with its nuclear development program.

MEPC President Ambassador Chas Freeman, formerly Assistant Secretary of Defense, moderated and served as primary discussant of the presentations.

The MEPC Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle East Policy is conduced as a public service for Members of Congress, congressional staff, members of the diplomatic corps and broader foreign affairs community, public policy research institute representatives, the media, academe, and the interested public.

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