Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Iran And The New Monroe Doctrine

September 2, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

In Washington, conventional wisdom has long held that Iran's presence south of the U.S. border constitutes little more than an axis of annoyance. In this telling, Iran's activities in Central and South America - from numerous commercial and trade deals with various nations to the establishment of cultural centers throughout the region - are disorganized, opportunistic, and ultimately of little consequence. That narrative has proved remarkably persistent, and - in part as a result - Washington has historically paid scant attention to Iran's presence in the hemisphere. But there is ample evidence to the contrary in the form of Iran's strategic cooperation with the region's anti-American regimes, and in well-documented instances of Iranian-sponsored subversion organized there and aimed at U.S. interests and allies. Now, with the Islamic Republic increasingly unfettered from sanctions as a result of last year's nuclear deal with the West, there are unmistakable signs that it is widening its presence in the Americas in earnest.

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Iran Agreement Won't Stop Growing Menace From Foe

August 31, 2016  •  Orlando Sentinel

Years from now, historians are sure to view the nuclear deal concluded last year between Iran and the P5+1 powers - the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany - as the greatest foreign policy achievement of President Obama's second term. But it is far less clear that they will see the agreement as having advanced America's strategic interests. The deal, after all, isn't designed to be a lasting solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Most of its provisions become defunct after just a decade, while some (such as curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles, a key delivery system for nuclear weapons) expire even sooner. Moreover, even during the time that the agreement is in force, Iran will be able to continue advanced research and development on key nuclear technologies. And it will do so with international assistance, because under the terms of the deal the P5+1 powers have pledged to help Iran master key processes (like the fabrication of nuclear fuel) and strengthen its atomic infrastructure (for example, by enhancing the physical security of its nuclear sites). All of which means that Iran will be able to continue critical work on its nuclear program, even if it is forced to do so at a slower pace. As a result, when the terms of the agreement expire, experts say that the Islamic Republic will be significantly closer to nuclear "breakout" than it is today. But even before then, the nuclear deal will significantly expand the danger posed by the Islamic Republic.

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Iran's Ahmadinejad Is Betting On A Comeback

August 26, 2016  •  The National Interest

Does anyone remember Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Until recently, the Islamic radical and former military officer who served as Iran's sixth president could be considered something of a political footnote.

During his two terms in office (2005–09 and 2009–13), Ahmadinejad's anti-Western bombast and political brinkmanship helped transform Iran into an international pariah, while his ruinous economic policies exacerbated the country's mounting fiscal woes. By the end of his tenure, Ahmadinejad was deeply unpopular at home, roundly blamed for a major decline in both domestic prosperity and global standing. He had also fallen out with his one-time protector, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, leaving him all but politically neutered.

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Turkey's Coup Attempt Has Played Straight Into Erdogan's Hands

July 20, 2016  •  National Review Online

Back in 2008, at the height of the global economic meltdown, Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Obama's designee for chief of staff, summed up his guiding political philosophy. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," he told the Wall Street Journal. "Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with." It looks like Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was listening. In the aftermath of last week's botched military coup, Erdogan has launched a far-reaching purge of political enemies, both real and imagined.

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A Bitter Birthday For The Iran Deal

July 14, 2016  •  U.S. News & World Report

Before the nuclear deal between Iran and the countries of the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) was concluded a year ago today, the true extent of the compromise struck over Iran's nuclear ambitions wasn't yet publicly known. It now is. In July of 2015, with great fanfare, the Obama administration formally unveiled the details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. What we've discovered since is that the deal is not as bad as it was initially believed. It's actually much worse, for at least three reasons.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Iran's Deadly Ambition Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising

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