Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 07/2014

A Path Forward with Iran: Pressure through Engagement

Andy Johnson, Kyle Spector

February 2010

Third Way


If the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is the most dangerous place in the world at the moment, Afghanistan’s neighbor to the West, Iran, is making a strong play for number two. It is alarming the world community, rattling its saber loudly at Israel and the West, and brutally suppressing internal dissent. Iran’s regime presents real threats to US national security with no easy or quick solutions, but President Obama’s policy of engagement has helped galvanize international resolve against Iran’s inaction and continues to provide a way forward to strengthen US security interests in the region. This memo outlines the US national security threats posed by Iran and explains how engagement policy achieves the parallel goals of pressuring Iran’s regime from the outside and allowing the domestic opposition to continue pressuring the regime from within.