Parsi discusses the secret diplomacy behind the Iran Nuclear Deal
Trita Parsi, award-winning author and U.S.–Iranian relations expert, gave a talk on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, titled “The Secret Diplomacy Behind the Iran Nuclear Deal: Can the Deal be Renegotiated?” as part of the Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies program (IPGS) Farzaneh Speaker Series.
Parsi, the second Farzaneh speaker of the semester, advised the Obama administration throughout the controversial 2015 nuclear deal negotiations. During Monday’s talk, he discussed his new book Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy and the factors that contributed to the historic 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
Recounting the events leading up to the nuclear deal talks for OSU students, staff and visitors, Parsi went back to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its effect on the Middle East, and reviewed how the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq ended the U.S. Dual Containment policy of both Iraq and Iran. During the Obama administration, both the Iranians and Obama underestimated each other, as Obama was able to impose the strongest sanctions ever against Iran, while Iran was able to double down the growth of its nuclear program, despite said sanctions.
Concluding his talk, Parsi said that because the U.S. used pressure-centric strategies, including combining sanctions, economic sabotage and unrealistic expectations, it gave Iran time to strengthen its nuclear program. He then warned that the U.S. should approach similar situations with caution to avoid a similar outcome.
“The desire to look tough domestically drove the negotiating strategy, causing the U.S. to settle for a deal that was far less attractive than what was proposed a decade earlier, had the U.S. had a more realistic position on enrichment,” Parsi said.
Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He has also received several awards as an author, including the Council of Foreign Affairs’ Arthur Ross Book Award for his book Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Deals of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007), and the Foreign Affairs Journal 2012 Best Book Award for A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press).
The IPGS Farzaneh Speaker Series hosts top scholars and policymakers who are specialists of the contemporary Iran and Persian Gulf Region.