NUFDI Policy Director Cameron Khansarinia quoted in Bloomberg.
A better approach for Biden — and for that matter Trump, who posted an uncharacteristically polite tweet earlier this month telling Iran’s leaders he “would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life … Thank you!” — would be for the U.S. to use the leverage of sanctions relief to get political prisoners and U.S. hostages released. “The leverage of maximum pressure should not be wasted,” said Cameron Khansarinia, the policy director of the National Union for Democracy in Iran. Biden’s approach would squander that leverage and relieve sanctions in exchange for compliance on the nuclear deal.
In addition, Khansarinia said, Biden should commit to bolstering Iranian civil society. The U.S. should continue to invest in technology that helps Iranians get access to the internet without going through servers controlled by the regime, he said. And Iranian assets seized by the U.S. Treasury, should be set aside for funds to help families of striking labor unions in Iran.
Most important, Khansarinia said, a Biden administration should be careful in its public statements, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is, to separate the Iranian people from the regime that purports to represent them. “Iranians do not want the U.S. government to overthrow the Iranian regime for them,” he said. “They will do this themselves. What they are looking for is support.”