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POLITICO: New Iran group to press White House on democracy

By Ben Smith

With democratic revolutions shaking the Middle East, Iran, a Democratic think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, and the pro-democracy group Freedom House are launching a new task force aimed at shifting American policy on its central regional foe, Iran, toward a more aggressive focus on democracy.

The new "Iran Strategy Task Force" is subtitled "Beyond Sanctions" and its members include former Holbrooke aide Ray Takeyh and Brookings' Ken Pollack, people associated with the group said. It's co-chaired by Freedom House's Andrew Apostolou and PPI's Josh Block.

"PPI believes a more democratic world is a safer world. The United States has failed to apply that principle to Iran, even as popular movements for freedom spread throughout the Middle East. It's time for a new approach," PPI President Will Marshall said in an emailed statement.

"The dominant issues in the Middle East are democracy and freedom. The Iran regime thinks that it can escape demands for change," said Apostolu. "The United States, and its allies, therefore need a strategy that will help Iranians attain the human rights they so richly deserve."

The full list of task force members is after the jump.

From the release:

The Task Force members are:
Andrew Apostolou, co-chair, Freedom House
Joshua Block, co-chair, Progressive Policy Institute
Jim Arkedis, Progressive Policy Institute
Rafael Bardají, Atlantic Council/Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales
Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland
Ken Pollack, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, the Brookings Institution
Steve Beckerman, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Renee Redman, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
Ray Takeyh, Council on Foreign Relations
Michael Adler, Woodrow Wilson Center
Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

ADVISORY COUNCIL:
David J. Kramer, Freedom House
Will Marshall, Progressive Policy Institute
Larry Diamond, Stanford University
Rob Satloff, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Walter Russell Mead, Bard College

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0311/New_Iran_group_to_press_White_House_on_democracy.html?showall



PRESS ADVISORY
March 30, 2011

Freedom House and Progressive Policy Institute To Announce Iran Strategy Task Force

“Beyond Sanctions: The Next Iran Strategy”


Contact: Josh Block, JBlock@PPIonline.org
              Andrew Apostolou, apostolou@freedomhouse.org

Conference Call:  WEDNESDAY --  10:30 a.m. EST
-- US: (866) 677-5019 --
-- International Call-in: +1 (847) 944-7648  –
Passcode: 6689-300#

Amidst recent revolutionary upheaval in the region, including renewed demonstrations and suppression in the Islamic Republic, it has become clear that the ObamaAdministration needs to rethink its Middle East strategy. At the core of that challenge will be how to deal with Iran.

Two years of attempted engagement with the Iranian regime have borne no fruit. Tehran continues its nuclear defiance and quest for regional hegemony. At the same time, the lack of internal popular support for the Iranian regime has become glaringly apparent. Unlike Arab dictatorships that have either fallen or made concessions to popular protests, the Iranian regime’s sole response is repression.

Freedom House, Washington’s oldest democracy promotion and human rights organization, and the Progressive Policy Institute, Washington’s leading center-left policy institute, are set to announce the creation of an Iran Strategy Task Force, Beyond Sanctions: The Next Iran Strategy.

Convening leading scholars and analysts, the joint task force will formulate new approaches to dealing with Iran and make recommendations after meeting with key policymakers in the Obama Administration, Members and Staff in the U.S. Congress, other experts from the U.S. and abroad, and the diplomatic community.

Led by Andrew Apostolou, Senior Program Manager for Iran at Freedom House, and Joshua Block, Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, the Iran StrategyTask Force will focus on the non-nuclear aspects of the Iran issue, especially human rights and the conventional threat that Iran poses to the region in its quest for regional dominance. Beyond Sanctions: The Next Iran Strategy will provide a U.S. counter-strategy to that of the Iranian regime.

TASK FORCE MEMBERS:
Andrew Apostolou, co-chair, Freedom House
Joshua Block, co-chair, Progressive Policy Institute
Jim Arkedis, Progressive Policy Institute
Rafael Bardají, Atlantic Council/Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales
Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland
Ken Pollack, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, the Brookings Institution
Steve Beckerman, American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Renee Redman, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
Ray Takeyh, Council on Foreign Relations
Michael Adler, Woodrow Wilson Center
Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
ADVISORY COUNCIL:
David J. Kramer, Freedom House
Will Marshall, Progressive Policy Institute
Larry Diamond, Stanford University
Rob Satloff, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Walter Russell Mead, Bard College

# # #



The Progressive Policy Institute is an independent research institution founded in 1989 that seeks to define and promote a new progressive politics in the 21st century. Through policy analysis and dialogue, PPI challenges the status quo and advocates for radical policy solutions.



Media inquiries should be sent to: Jblock@ppionline.org



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