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Background Information
International Engagement & Building Peace

Background on Iran
This article from the Friends Committee on National Legislation provides a liberal religious perspective on diplomacy with Iran.

Preparing the Battlefield
by Seymour Hersh, July 7, 2008
The latest update on the Bush administrations clandestine operations in Iran, published in The New Yorker.

The Iran Plans
by Seymour Hersh, April 17, 2006
The New Yorker article that sounded the alarm on the Bush administration's covert operations in Iran.

Incidents at Sea
In January of 2008, Iranian and American naval forces had an incident at sea. It was unfairly sensationalized by the Pentagon to demonstrate Iranian military aggressiveness. Read the full story. The incident occurred in the Strait of Hormuz, an enormously important waterway through which 20-40% of the world's oil supply travels. It is a 21 mile wide waterway, half of which is in Iranian territorial waters. It is widely recognized that Iran theoretically has the military capacity to completely block traffic through the strait for a month or more. Such a disruption to oil supply would wreak havoc on the global economy. Read more about the strategic importance of the Strait of Hormuz.

Diplomacy with Iran is Possible
In May of 2003, Iran proposed a grand bargain with the US. Iran offered to lay out on the negotiating table the disarmament of Hamas and Hezbollah, acceptance of Israel's right to exist, and full transparency on its nuclear program. In return Iran asked for an end to U.S.sanctions, full access to peaceful scientific technology and research—nuclear, biotech, and chemical, U.S. cooperation in pursuing anti-Iranian terrorists, and normalization of relations. Even though the U.S. would likely not agree to these terms, even Secretary Gates admits that it was a missed opportunity.