NPR.org, May 20, 2009 ·
The Obama administration is making an effort to reach out to Iran, but is it heading down a path to nowhere? Or is it that diplomacy with Iran has never really been given a chance to work?
Hear The Debate
A panel of experts tackled those questions in a recent Intelligence Squared U.S. debate — with two arguing for the motion "Diplomacy with Iran Is Going Nowhere" and two arguing against.
Before the Oxford-style debate, the audience at the Rockefeller University in New York City was divided evenly — with one-third in favor of the motion, one-third opposed and the rest undecided. But when the debate was over, the pair arguing against the proposition "Diplomacy with Iran Is Going Nowhere" had changed the most minds: 59 percent voted against the motion, while 35 percent were in favor and 6 percent remained undecided.
John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News' Nightline, moderated the May 12 debate.
Those debating were:
FOR THE MOTION
Liz Cheney is an attorney and specialist in the areas of U.S. Middle East policy and reform in the Arab world. She served most recently as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs (2005-06). Her responsibilities included designing and managing U.S. government programs to promote democracy in the Arab world.
Daniel Senor, an expert on Iraq, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and Middle East and Persian Gulf geopolitics, security and economics, is adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Senor is an analyst for Fox News and a founding partner of Rosemont Capital.
AGAINST THE MOTION
Nicholas Burns is professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He served in the United States Foreign Service for 27 years until his retirement in 2008. He was undersecretary of state for political affairs, the nation's highest-ranking career diplomat, from 2005 to 2008. In this position, he led U.S. efforts on the Iran nuclear issue and worked with China, Russia and the European countries to negotiate the three United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions against Iran.
Kenneth M. Pollack is an expert on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, with particular emphasis on Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the other nations of the Persian Gulf region. He is currently a senior fellow and director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.