Scott Horton Interviews Flynt Leverett

Scott Horton, October 18, 2011

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Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses the Iran uranium swap negotiations in 2009-10; a reminder that the Tehran Research Reactor was supplied by the US in the 1960s, and reconfigured after the 1979 revolution to use far-less enriched uranium (reducing weapons proliferation risks); how the initial swap offer by the US asked Iran to hand over its low-enriched uranium, with no collateral, and trust France to provide fuel rods a year later; the eminently reasonable Iranian counter-proposals that were ridiculed and dismissed by US officials; and how Obama reneged on his promise to Turkish and Brazilian negotiators when Iran accepted a deal he was sure would be rejected.

MP3 here. (30:00)

Flynt Leverett runs The Race For Iran blog and teaches at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs. Additionally, he directs the Iran Project at the New America Foundation, where he is a Senior Research Fellow.

Dr. Leverett is a leading authority on the Middle East and Persian Gulf, U.S. foreign policy, and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003, he had a distinguished career in the U.S. government, serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as a CIA Senior Analyst. He left the George W. Bush Administration and government service in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Dr. Leverett’s 2006 monograph, Dealing With Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran, presented the seminal argument for a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”, an idea that he has developed in multiple articles and Op Eds in The New York Times, The National Interest, POLITICO, Salon, Washington Monthly, and the New America Foundation’s “Big Ideas for a New America” series.

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