New Iran Group

From Politico’s Ben Smith:

New Iran group to press White House on democracy

With democratic revolutions shaking the Middle East, a Democratic think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, and the pro-democracy group Freedom House are launching a new task force aimed at shifting American policy on its central regional foe, Iran, toward a more aggressive focus on democracy.

The new “Iran Strategy Task Force” is subtitled “Beyond Sanctions” and its members include former Holbrooke aide Ray Takeyh and Brookings’ Ken Pollack, people associated with the group said. It’s co-chaired by Freedom House’s Andrew Apostolou and PPI’s Josh Block.

“PPI believes a more democratic world is a safer world. The United States has failed to apply that principle to Iran, even as popular movements for freedom spread throughout the Middle East. It’s time for a new approach,” PPI President Will Marshall said in an emailed statement.

“The dominant issues in the Middle East are democracy and freedom. The Iran regime thinks that it can escape demands for change,” said Apostolou. “The United States, and its allies, therefore need a strategy that will help Iranians attain the human rights they so richly deserve.”

The full list of task force members is after the jump.

From the release:

The Task Force members are:

Andrew Apostolou, co-chair, Freedom House
Joshua Block, co-chair, Progressive Policy Institute
Jim Arkedis, Progressive Policy Institute
Rafael Bardají, Atlantic Council/Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales
Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland
Ken Pollack, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, the Brookings Institution
Steve Beckerman, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Renee Redman, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
Ray Takeyh, Council on Foreign Relations
Michael Adler, Woodrow Wilson Center
Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


David J. Kramer, Freedom House
Will Marshall, Progressive Policy Institute
Larry Diamond, Stanford University
Rob Satloff, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Walter Russell Mead, Bard College

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. I’m not familiar with most of the names on the list but a few caught my eye. Ken Pollack, Larry Diamond, Will Marshall & Walter Russell Mead were all fervent supporters of the invasion of Iraq. Others on the list belong to organizations like AIPAC, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy & the US Committee for a Free Lebanon, all of which have a decidedly neoconservative orientation. Is this the reincarnation of the Project for a New American Century?

  2. Jim, could you do an article or point to an article that documents the funding of these think tanks. I am particularly interested in any funding by defense contractors. Or, what about Bill Kristol and any such funding for his adventures?

  3. “a more democratic world is a safer world”

    Not if you’re watching the US and Israel from the sidelines (as I am). These two hyper-militarized states brag loudly and often about their democracies but have probably slaughtered more people in the past 15 years than the rest of the world combined.

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