Nasr: Obama must have clear strategy for Iran, Middle East

Successful diplomatic negotiations with Iran require a bold new American tack in the Middle East, and quickly, says Iranian-born foreign policy expert Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

In Monday's edition of The Globe and Mail of Canada, Nasr writes, "While [President Obama's] strategy of harsh sanctions satisfied the American electorate and has likely moved Iran closer to the negotiating table, successful resolution of this conflict, as well as the interrelated regional crises, requires a new vision for Middle East policy."

Nasr is author of The Shia Revival and Democracy in Iran, sits on the U.S. State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and served as senior advisor to the late Richard Holbrooke for Afghanistan and Pakistan until 2011. He will be in Toronto on later this month to take part in a debate on Iran's nuclear ambitions along with Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer; Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israeli military intelligence and director of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies; and journalist, author, and foreign policy expert Fareed Zakaria.

More from The Globe and Mail:

Dealing with Iran's nuclear program will be one of the most pressing foreign policy issues facing Barack Obama as he begins his second term. While the focus thus far has been on whether America is ready to go to war if aggressive economic sanctions fail to bend Iran's will, his administration should also prepare to deal with the sanctions' potential success. There's evidence that the measures are seriously hurting Iran's economy, and that this is changing Tehran's posture. What will Mr. Obama do if Iran agrees to negotiate?

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