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Middle East Author Stephen Kinzer To Discuss White House Agenda and the Future of U.S.–Iran Relations

SOURCE: Anne Singer, on behalf of Just Foreign Policy

"An attack on Iran now would seriously damage America's position in the Middle East," says Kinzer, "and would create intense anti-American feeling in the only Muslim country in the region whose people are now pro-American."
Award-winning author and former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer is wrapping up his national speaking tour with public appearances in Baltimore, Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA. Joined by other specialists—including Iran scholar Trita Parsi and the New America Foundation's Steve Clemons—Kinzer will warn against U.S. military intervention in Iran and outline the advantages of cooperation between the two countries. The tour is also promoting the Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act of 2008 in the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 5056).

In Baltimore, the event will be held on Thurs., March 5 at 7 p.m. in Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus of The Johns Hopkins University. Local sponsors of the program include Baltimore Veterans for Peace, Americans for Informed Democracy, the Inter-Asian Council of Johns Hopkins University, and the Iranian Cultural Society at The Johns Hopkins University.

Kinzer served as a New York Times foreign correspondent and bureau chief for 20 years, covering more than 50 countries on five continents. He has written several books on U.S. policy in the Middle East and Latin America. The Washington Post has called him "among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." His 2003 book about the legacy of the U.S.-sponsored coup against Iran's democratic government in 1953, All The Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, was just reissued by Wiley & Sons with a new foreword: "The Folly of Attacking Iran."

"Historically, when America engages in regime change, it's often for the wrong reasons or under false pretenses," said Kinzer. "In most cases, these operations end up having terrible results, not only for the target country but also for the United States itself. An attack on Iran now would seriously damage America's position in the Middle East and would create intense anti-American feeling in the only Muslim country in the region whose people are now pro-American."

With the February 22 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report prompting a UN vote on further sanctions against Iran, Kinzer said: "The more concerned the outside world is about Iran's behavior—whether about Iran's nuclear program, its support for militant groups in the Middle East, its repression of civil society or other issues—the more urgent the case for negotiation becomes. Direct, comprehensive and unconditional negotiations could produce results that would not only reassure Iran's neighbors and help stabilize the Middle East, but also contribute decisively to strengthening American national security. These countries are not only not fated to be enemies forever; they actually have many long-range security interests in common."

For a complete national tour schedule and speakers' bios, go to:

See Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act of 2008 details here.

"The Folly of Attacking Iran: Time for Real Diplomacy" tour is organized by Just Foreign Policy ( and co-organized by Americans for an Informed Democracy, the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, the National Iranian American Council, Peace Action and Physicians for Social Responsibility with support from the Colombe Foundation, Lee and Gund Foundation, The Pluralism Fund and the Stone Foundation.

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This story was published on March 4, 2008.