On November 21, the inimitable Juan Cole (http://www.juancole.com) posted an appeal from 20 experts on Iran from both parties with a variety of backgrounds, including three ambassadors, for a more reasonable policy on Iran. One should go to his site to see the full discussion, but the highlights are five recommendations and the deconstruction of eight myths. I list them without details. Cole called for others to publicize this, and so I am doing so here a few days late, and making clear my agreement with and support of this appeal.
The five recommendations:
1) Replace calls for regime change in Iran with a long term strategy.
2) Support human rights through effective international means.
3) Allow Iran a place at the table in determining the future of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other key states.
4) Address the nuclear issue within the context of a broader US-Iran opening.
5) Re-energize the Arab-Israeli peace process with the US being an honest broker.
The eight myths:
1) President Ahmadinejad calls the shots on foreign and nuclear policy.
2) The political system in Iran is frail and ripe for regime change.
3) Iranian leaders' religious beliefs render them undeterrable.
4) Iran's current leaders are implacably opposed to the US.
5) Iran has a declared intention to attack Israel to "wipe Israel off the map."
6) US sponsored "democracy promotion" can help bring true democracy to Iran.
7) Iran has clearly and firmly committed to developing nuclear weapons.
8) Iran and the US have no basis for dialogue.