by Gordon Adams
The myopia of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s list of demands for Iran, should it want a future deal with the US, was typical. Basically, give up and give in, with a subtle hint of regime change as part of the bargain. The list was clearly designed to provoke, not to open a discussion. And it contained the mirror image problem: how might Iran, a country surrounded by unfriendly military forces, see the world? And what might Iranians expect?
Suppose the tables had been reversed and Iran had decided to pose a list of 12 demands, asking the US to make fundamental changes in its regional and global engagement, in exchange for Iran’s decision to stay in, even extend, the JCPOA. Such a list might look like the following:
- The United States must declare the full extent of its nuclear military modernization program, including disclosure of and all strategic contingency planning for the actual use of low-yield nuclear weapons, and the full life-cycle cost estimates for production of next-generation nuclear systems such as the B-21 bomber.
- The United States must halt this nuclear modernization program, including its enrichment activities, plutonium reprocessing, and the modernization of its nuclear weapons production complex, and announce its intention and a measurable plan to denuclearize its military in an internationally verifiable way.
- The United States must immediately rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the European Union, and live up to its commitments under that agreement.
- The United States must withdraw all its military forces under American command from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, allowing those countries to settle their own internal disputes and provide for their own security.
- The United States must withdraw its naval forces from the Persian Gulf, closing all US military installations (land, sea, air, and intelligence) in the Gulf region.
- The United States must cease cyber-intervention in internal Iranian affairs and the affairs of its friends and allies.
- The United States must end all sanctions against Iran and its citizens and promote and encourage open trade and exchanges between Iran and other countries.
- The United States must cease its overt and covert support for the Saudi intervention in Yemen and work toward a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.
- The United States must end its threatening behavior against Iran and its allies in the Middle East.
- The United States must end its support for authoritarian regimes—including Turkey, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Hungary—that suppress the rights of their citizens and residents.
- The United States must cease its military interference in more than 80 countries, using its Special Operations forces.
- The United States must end its support of the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and demand that Israel end the expansion of settlements in Palestinian territory, cease its attacks on innocent civilians in Gaza, and engage seriously with the Palestinian Authority in negotiations leading to a two-state solution. The United States must return its embassy to Tel Aviv pending the creation of a Palestinian state and the resolution both of the status of Jerusalem and the right of return for the Palestinian people.
Equally unreasonable? Unnegotiable? Gee, the above sounds a bit like Pompeo’s list. It’s always useful, though, to try to see the world from the other person’s perspective.
Gordon Adams is emeritus faculty from American University and a Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center. He oversaw national security budgets in the Clinton White House from 1993-97.