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USA*Engage Commends Iraq Study Group Recommendations to Engage Iran
Date: 12/6/2006

Washington, D.C.USA*Engage today commended the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group to constructively engage Iran as part of a broader Iraq strategy.

"Isolation has rarely proved to be effective in changing the behavior of other governments. The Iraq Study Group report is further evidence that dialogue with the Iranian regime, however limited, is vitally important to U.S. national and security interests," said Jake Colvin, Director of USA*Engage. "Not talking simply limits your options. Dialogue is not going to be a silver bullet, but it's a more constructive approach to a country like Iran."

The Iraq Study Group is the latest in a series of important commissions and study groups to endorse dialogue with Iran. Others include:

  • A 2004 report published by the Council on Foreign Relations, which was co-chaired by incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Among other things, the report recommended that: "The United States should work with Tehran to capitalize on Iran's influence to advance the stability and consolidation of its neighbors." It went on to say that, "Small steps, such as the authorization of trade between U.S. entities and Iran's relatively small private sector, should be contemplated as confidence-building measures that would create new constituencies within Iran for a government that is fully integrated into the international community."

  • A 2001 Atlantic Council of the United States Working Group, co-chaired by Lee H. Hamilton, James Schlesinger and Brent Scowcroft, in which NFTC's Daniel O'Flaherty also participated. That report, which advocated for unilaterally "relaxing the economic sanctions currently in place against Iran," also said that "The development of a U.S.-Iranian relationship characterized by all of the strands of normal interaction between nations would enable the United States to further its broader national interests."

USA*Engage ( is a coalition of small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy.

The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in
Washington and New York.