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The targeted killing of General Qassim Suleimani, one of Iran’s most prominent military leaders, sent shockwaves around the world. The strike came more than a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and launched a series of punishing economic sanctions that have drastically reduced Iran's oil exports and crippled its economy. The administration’s defenders argue that this "maximum pressure" campaign is necessary to protect American interests, quell Tehran’s human rights abuses, and halt Iran's support of terrorist networks across the region. But opponents see maximum pressure as dangerously misguided. They contend that abandoning the JCPOA – a historic diplomatic achievement – increases the risk of war and undermines key allies. Further, critics say, economic sanctions target civilians and fuel anti-American sentiment in Iran and beyond. Is the maximum pressure campaign against Iran working?

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For:

Victor Davis Hanson

13 Items
Victor Davis Hanson
  • Military Historian & Author, “The Case for Trump”
Read Bio

Like Prohibition, affirmative action and then diversity were originally noble efforts that were doomed — largely by their own illiberal contradiction of using present and future racial discrimination to atone for past racial discrimination

Thursday, March 14, 2013

“What should Trump do after seven decades of North Korean aggression? Ratchet up the embargo of North Korea. Do not give it any aid — no matter the pleas and threats. Put more pressure on China. Do not barter with Pyongyang until it is proven that it has no more nukes.”

Thursday, March 22, 2018

“The United States has an array of ways to ratchet up pressure on China to force North Korea to denuclearize — ranging from tougher trade sanctions to denying visas to thousands of Chinese students and property holders.”

Thursday, February 15, 2018

"Whether or not they like Trump, millions of voters still think the president is all that stands between them and socialism, radical cultural transformation, and social chaos."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

“Victor Davis Hanson analyzes the recent escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran, grades the Trump Administration’s performance, and predicts what’s to come.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

“The more we learn about it — as Iranian and Obama-administration deceptions are uncovered — the more we know it was a disaster from the start.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

“Iran has now become a pariah. U.S.-sponsored sanctions have reduced the theocracy to near-bankruptcy. Most nations understand that if Iran kills Americans or openly starts up its nuclear program, the U.S. will inflict disproportional damage on its infrastructure — a warning that at first baffled, then angered and now has humiliated Iran.”

Monday, February 3, 2020

“The sanctions are clearly destroying an already weak Iranian economy. Iran is now suffering from negative economic growth, massive unemployment and record inflation.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

“Trump governs the tempo of the confrontation.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

“Iran deeply erred in thinking that Trump’s restraint was permanent, that his impeachment meant he had lost political viability, that he would go dormant in an election year, that the stature of his left-wing opponents would surge in such tensions, and that his base would abandon him if he dared to use military force.”

Friday, January 3, 2020

"We look forward to the day we can help bring the Iranians and their neighbors the peace and prosperity they deserve."

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"The U.S. is gaining momentum in our standoffs with China, Iran, and North Korea. So expect dangerous provocations."

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

“The Iran agreement will remake the Middle East — for the worse.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
For:

H. R. McMaster

6 Items
H. R. McMaster
  • Retired Lieutenant General, U.S. Army & Former National Security Advisor
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“McMaster accused Iran of escalating a campaign to increase its influence in the Middle East by building and arming “Hezbollah-style” proxy armies in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere as it has done in Lebanon.”

Saturday, February 17, 2018
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“Treating Iran as a responsible nation state did not moderate the regime’s behavior. Wishful thinking led to complacency in confronting Iran’s most egregious actions and operations. The Iranian regime took full advantage of that complacency.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump's national security adviser, talks about the Iran nuclear deal, claiming it is "fundamentally flawed."

Thursday, September 21, 2017
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“General H.R. McMaster, National Security Adviser, Speaks on Iran.”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
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“Now is also the time to address serious flaws in the Iran deal and counter Iran’s destabilizing activities, including its development and proliferation of missiles—and its support for terrorist proxies and militias that fuel destructive conflicts across the greater Middle East. The Iranian regime foments this violence with support from commercial entities affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC—including Mahan Air, which lands right here in Munich Airport.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018
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“General H.R. McMaster, National Security Adviser, Speaks on Iran.”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Against:

Martha Crenshaw

8 Items
Martha Crenshaw
  • Terrorism Studies Expert & Author, “Explaining Terrorism”
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“Three founders of modern terrorism studies reflect on what the world has learned about political violence—and what remains unknown.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016
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Martha Crenshaw discusses what causes terrorism.

Sunday, March 8, 2015
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“In this session titled "ISIL, Iran, and the Taliban: Assessing the Threats to American Security" moderator Brad Kapnick, a Partner at Katten & Temple, LLP, and SIEPR Advisory Board member, asks some tough questions of Scott Sagan, The Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science; Karl Eikenberry, a Consulting Professor at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; and Martha Crenshaw, a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
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“The Matthew B. Ridgway Center hosted terrorism experts Marc Sageman, M.D., PhD and Martha Crenshaw, PhD, for a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Michael Kenney on April 24, 2017 to discuss the policies and actions the U.S. can take to combat terrorism.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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“The second point to stress is that the U.S. government cannot control the overall response to terrorism. There are limits to what even a superpower can do when terrorism is rooted outside the scope of its authority or when terrorism comes from disgruntled individuals already inside the country who act erratically.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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“There is no tide of “violent extremism” associated with Islam and carried by immigrants that is sweeping the country. The perpetrators of violence are not representative of any community.”

Friday, June 17, 2016
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“With options limited for fighting terrorists, negotiations may be the best remaining alternative.”

Thursday, September 19, 2019
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“Crenshaw said researchers and policymakers should "ask why some groups cause large numbers of civilian casualties and others do not, rather than assuming that religious beliefs are the explanation for lethality."

Sunday, October 7, 2007
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Against:

Abbas Milani

9 Items
Abbas Milani
  • Iranian Studies Program Director, Stanford University
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“So far, with the exception of President Trump’s announcement of his willingness to negotiate unconditionally with Iran, his administration often seems to be following a policy of not just maximum pressure but maximum humiliation. The policy is sure to fail. Maximum pressure applied unwisely can beget maximum disaster.”

Friday, July 19, 2019
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“Unless both sides decide to de-escalate, the United States and Iran are moving toward a dangerous and destructive war that will further dim the waning prospects for a working agreement that will convince Iran it is not in its interest to try to develop a nuclear bomb and will also lessen tensions that have reached a fever pitch with the assassination of Soleimani.”

Sunday, January 5, 2020
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“US President Donald Trump’s decision to pursue a more aggressive Iran policy underscores his administration’s misunderstanding of the Iranian regime. Shelving the 2015 nuclear deal would not only heighten regional tensions; it would also embolden the very hardliners that the US has been seeking to contain.”

Friday, October 13, 2017
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“Democracy will come to Iran when the people of Iran have their reckoning with their ruthless and incompetent rulers. Tragically, the new Trump strategy delays that reckoning.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
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“Milani is no fan of maximum pressure. He says it undermines Iran’s democracy movement and strengthens Iran’s ties with Russia and China.”

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
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“During his presidency, Trump’s strategy of “maximum pressure” and “restoring deterrence” have weakened America’s position on every count of its stated policy objectives in the region, while simultaneously, at least in the short run, strengthening the most conservative elements within the Iranian regime. Compared to three years ago: we have no nuclear agreement with Iran, let alone a more comprehensive one; we have enabled greater Iranian influence in the region, especially in Syria and Iraq, not less; and we have seen the Islamic Republic’s theocratic order become more repressive and entrenched, not more open or democratic.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
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“Now that President Trump has made good on a major campaign promise – pulling the U.S. out of the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal – the debate has begun whether it was the right move. Abbas Milani, a Hoover research fellow and the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, offers his opinion and explains how the change affects both the politics of Iran and the Middle East region.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018
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“Stanford University’s Iranian Studies Director Abbas Milani talks about the renewed tensions between the U.S. and Iran.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
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“A January, 10, 2020 panel discussion on escalating U.S.-Iran tensions featuring Lisa Blaydes, Colin Kahl, Brett McGurk and Abbas Milani, moderated by Michael McFaul.”

Monday, January 13, 2020
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Background

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"Iran and the U.S. have been enemies since 1979. Why?"

Sunday, January 19, 2020
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The Week Staff

"U.S. sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy, but the operative question is to what end"

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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James M Lindsay

"An expert explains Iran’s recent actions."

Friday, June 21, 2019
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Alex Ward

"After Soleimani strike, war powers resolution would seek to limit Trump from escalating military conflicts with Iran."

Thursday, February 13, 2020
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William Roberts

For the Motion

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"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers his first public address on the Trump administration’s Iran strategy."

Monday, May 21, 2018
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Mike Pompeo

"We look forward to the day we can help bring the Iranians and their neighbors the peace and prosperity they deserve."

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
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"The theocracy’s most important vulnerability is still its weakening economy, and it is that nerve that Washington should continue pinching. Given this latest Iranian act of terror, the Trump administration may have stumbled on a unique opportunity to multi-lateralize its strategy of maximum pressure."

Monday, September 16, 2019
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Ray Takeyh

"Secs. Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin stood by the Trump administration’s strategy and outlined new sanctions."

Sunday, September 22, 2019
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Anya van Wagtendonk

Against the Motion

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"History tells us that Iran will not be sanctioned into changing its behavior. A successful policy of leverage comes from collective international pressure, the prospect that negotiations can offer credible economic gains and the threat of meaningful consequences for malign actions."

Thursday, August 29, 2019
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Dennis Ross and Dana Stroul

"A hardline approach from Washington has been met with an equally hardline approach from a Tehran desperate to show it will not be bullied into submission. Escalation is met with escalation. Maximum pressure on Iran is driving us toward war, not toward a mutually agreeable diplomatic deal and certainly not toward peace."

Monday, December 9, 2019
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Bonnie Kristian

"Pulling out of the nuclear deal has emboldened Tehran and exposed Saudi Arabia."

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
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“This regime is the worst, but Donald Trump is the worst.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020
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Jen Kirby

General Suleimani Strike

6 Items
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"The White House has kept a close hold on many details of what led up to the decision to kill Soleimani. Here's what is known from public accounts."

Saturday, January 4, 2020
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Elena Moore and Roberta Rampton

"Iran said it would essentially abandon its obligations under a land mark nuclear deal, and the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel American troops."

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
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New York Times

"Why Trump’s decision to target the Iranian military commander was the right call, explained by an expert."

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
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Alex Ward

"Why Trump’s decision to target the Iranian military commander was a mistake, explained by an expert."

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
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Sean Illing

"A new poll shows Americans are more likely than not to support President Donald Trump’s decision to order a drone strike that killed an Iranian general, even amid widespread skepticism about his foreign policy overall."

Friday, January 24, 2020
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Ben Fox and Emily Swanson

"Families across half the world are now grieving a consequence that Trump’s ego forbade him to imagine or ponder."

Thursday, January 9, 2020
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Economic Sanctions

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"Though immediate tensions stem from the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018 -- and Iran's subsequent retaliation -- the conflict goes back decades."

Thursday, February 20, 2020
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Bradford Betz

"Mr Trump says he wants to apply "maximum pressure" on the government in Tehran to compel it to renegotiate the accord. But Iran's leaders have remained defiant. The substantial impact the sanctions have had on the country is clear, and the economic hardship Iranians are facing helped trigger widespread protests in November 2019 that were brutally quashed by the authorities."

Monday, December 9, 2019
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BBC

"The United States imposed more sanctions on Iran on Friday in retaliation for its missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq last week and vowed to tighten the economic screws if Tehran continued “terrorist” acts or pursued a nuclear bomb. The targets of the sanctions included Iran’s manufacturing, mining and textile sectors as well as senior Iranian officials who Washington said were involved in the Jan. 8 attack on military bases housing U.S. troops."

Thursday, January 16, 2020
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"Economic measures can de-escalate tensions, but not if used crudely."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
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Elizabeth Rosenberg and Neil Bhatiya

"President Trump’s vow Wednesday to slap new sanctions on Iran probably would target a broader range of Iranian commercial institutions and government officials, deepening the Middle Eastern nation’s spiraling economic crisis. But with the economy already convulsed by earlier U.S. enforcement actions, any new financial punishments are likely to be largely symbolic, according to sanctions specialists and experts on Iran."

Thursday, January 9, 2020
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David J Lynch

"The Trump administration has placed layers of tough sanctions on Iran for years, but it has yet to bring the economy to its knees. That's because Iran has a big economy that's used to hard times."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
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Jackie Northam

"U.S. sanctions on Iran have carried a significant cost to the U.S. economy, a new report published by the National Iranian American Council today finds. Losing Billions – The Cost of Iran Sanctions to the U.S. Economy reveals that between 1995 and 2012, the U.S. sacrificed at least $135 billion and as much as $175 billion in potential export revenue to Iran."

Monday, July 14, 2014
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NIAC

"A week before Germany, France and Britain formally accused Iran of breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration issued a private threat to the Europeans that shocked officials in all three countries. If they refused to call out Tehran and initiate an arcane dispute mechanism in the deal, the United States would impose a 25 percent tariff on European automobiles, the Trump officials warned, according to European officials familiar with the conversations."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
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John Hudson and Souad Mekhennet

JCPOA

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"The Iran deal was one of the crowning diplomatic achievement’s of former President Barack Obama’s tenure, but has continued to be a divisive issue in Washington since it came to fruition in 2015. Withdrawing the US from the deal was one of the biggest and most controversial foreign policy decisions Trump has made yet."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
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John Haltiwanger

"The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
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Donald Trump

"EU nations prompt a mechanism bringing closer the potential collapse of the deal and the reimposition of UN sanctions."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
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Al Jazeera

Domestic Unrest in Iran

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"U.S. President Donald Trump has said that his campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran isn’t aimed at precipitating regime change there. That hasn’t stopped him and his aides from telegraphing their hopes for it."

Thursday, January 16, 2020
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Golnar Motevalli

"After downing of Ukrainian jetliner, establishment strives to restore unity amid awareness that differences could jeopardize regime."

Monday, January 27, 2020
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Sune Engel Rasmussen

"Iran is a society deeply polarized between those who hate the regime and those still loyal to its rigid revolutionary ideology."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
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Robin Wright

"What started as a protest over a surprise increase in gasoline prices turned into widespread demonstrations met with a systematic repression that left at least 180 people dead."

Sunday, December 1, 2019
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Farnaz Fassihi and Rick Gladstone

Iranian Funding of Terror

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The U.S. drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the paramilitary Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), highlighted the centrality of support for terrorist, insurgent and other substate groups in Iran’s foreign policy. The Quds Force helps arm, train and otherwise support numerous insurgent and rebel groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Palestinian territories and other areas, and its activities are part of why the United States has long labeled Iran the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.”

Monday, January 6, 2020
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Daniel L Byman

On Iran, the report said that country "remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to groups around the world."

Thursday, June 2, 2016
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Ryan Browne

"The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies."

Sunday, April 8, 2018
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Donald Trump

"Iran has not posed a serious terror threat to the United States since the 1980s. Sunni terrorism, on the other hand, has."

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
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Jefferson Morley