Bipartisan Policy Center Releases Comprehensive Report on Iran

Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:36pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Broad Consensus Achieved on New Strategy to Prevent Nuclear Iran

Task Force chaired by former Senators Dan Coats and Charles Robb identify
nuclear weapons-capable Iran as 'strategically untenable' situation

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Task Force sponsored by the
National Security Initiative, a program of the Bipartisan Policy Center, today
released a ground-breaking report identifying the regional and global threats
posed by a nuclear weapons-capable Iran and recommending a new, robust and
comprehensive strategy designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons
capability.

Calling a nuclear weapons-capable Iran "strategically untenable," the report
argues that it "may pose the most significant threat to the United States
during the next Administration." "The stakes are enormous," reads the report,
Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development. "They
involve not only U.S. national security, but also regional peace and
stability, energy security, the efficacy of multilateralism, and the
preservation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty regime."

The report is the product of a high-level bipartisan Task Force led by former
Senators Daniel Coats and Charles Robb, and including Ambassador Dennis Ross
and Steve Rademaker, three retired four-star generals and admirals, and other
experts in nuclear proliferation and energy markets. The report offers a
blueprint for establishing an effective U.S. strategy toward Iran's nuclear
development and also offers a comprehensive source of information for
policymakers, the public and the next President.

The Task Force believes the current U.S. policy is failing and it presents a
new realistic, robust, and comprehensive approach "incorporating new
diplomatic, economic and military tools in an integrated fashion" that can
deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons-capability. The Task Force
recommends the incoming U.S. President simultaneously build diplomatic,
economic and military leverage with the Iranians from the first day of his new
Administration in order to negotiate from strength and to be prepared for all
contingencies. It advises the new President to engage Iran in negotiations
with a pre-determined timetable once our European allies impose greater
economic sanctions. If negotiations fail, the report advises the U.S. to
pursue more aggressive tactics, including possibly blockading Iran's gasoline
imports and eventually its crude oil imports.

If all other approaches - diplomatic, informational, and economic - are
unsuccessful, the Task Force recognizes that the new President will have to
weigh the risks of failure to set back Iran's nuclear program sufficiently
against the risks of a military strike.  The Task Force agrees that a military
strike, relying mostly on air power, is a feasible option and must remain a
last resort to turn back Iran's nuclear development. An initial air campaign
would likely last several days to several weeks, and would also require years
of vigilance. Any military action would incur significant risks, including the
possibility of significant U.S. and allied losses, wide-scale terrorist
reprisals against Israel, and heightened unrest in the region.

The Task Force also found that Iran's nuclear program cannot be adequately
safeguarded by the international inspections regime as currently designed.
Furthermore, "It would be technically possible," once Iran has developed a
sufficient feedstock of low-enriched uranium, for it to "enrich 20 kilograms
of highly enriched uranium--the minimum necessary for a nuclear device--in
four weeks or less." 

In commenting on the report, Senators Coats and Robb issued the following
joint statement: "The next president, regardless of party affiliation, will
face the formidable task of assembling and sustaining a bipartisan policy
designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons-capability. Although a
task force can never precisely replicate the extraordinary pressures of
real-world national security deliberations, all of the members of this project
have labored to offer a path to an informed, bipartisan consensus on Iran
policy.  

"This report has been unanimously approved by a group with members of
divergent foreign policy perspectives and political alignments. All of us hope
that we have provided a blueprint for achieving consensus on the difficult
policy measures that will be required if the United States is to prevent a
development that would be strategically untenable." 

Steering Committee Members: Daniel Coats, Co-Chair; Charles Robb, Co-Chair;
Dr. Ashton Carte; Admiral Gregory "Grog" Johnson, USN (ret.); General Ron
Keys, USAF (ret.); Dr.Ed Morse; Mr.Steve Rademaker; Ambassador Dennis Ross;
Mr.Henry Sokolski; General Chuck Wald, USAF (ret.); and Dr. Ken Weinstein.
Consultants to the group are two leading Iran experts: Dr. Michael Rubin, and
Mr. Ken Katzman. Project Director is Dr. Michael Makovsky, Foreign Policy
Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center.  For more information on "Meeting
the Challenge:  U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development," or the BPC's
National Security Initiative, please visit: www.bipartisanpolicy.org

About the Bipartisan Policy Center:
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Baker, Daschle, Dole, and Mitchell formed
the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to develop and promote solutions that can
attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress.
The BPC acts as an incubator for policy efforts that engage top political
figures, advocates, academics, and business leaders in the art of principled
compromise. For more information please visit our website:
http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/

SOURCE  Bipartisan Policy Center

Eileen McMenamin, Director of Communications, Bipartisan Policy Center,
+1-202-379-1633, emcmenamin@bipartisanpolicy.org
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