(New York, N.Y.) — Last Thursday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) hosted a virtual event during which leading experts discussed what the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan means for the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The event was moderated by UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace and featured an introduction by UANI Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.
In his remarks, Senator Lieberman noted how the Taliban victory could inform the Biden Administration’s approach to nuclear negotiations with Tehran:
“The public, even people who wanted us out [of Afghanistan], believe this was handled very badly. So one would think that the Biden Administration having suffered this defeat in the eyes of the public in a major foreign policy national security issue would not risk another such embarrassing defeat by making a bad agreement on nuclear weapons with Iran.”
Former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor and President of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Frances F. Townsend discussed what the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan means for the relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda:
“In June al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released its first English language copy of its Inspire magazine in over four years. Iran’s long-standing relationship with al-Qaeda makes it even more likely that the group will be making a comeback in this new Afghanistan.”
UANI Advisory Board member Norman Roule, a veteran of the intelligence community who served as National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, highlighted how Iran will use the events in Afghanistan against the United States:
“Moving forward, we’re going to watch Iran use this event as a lever against the West. It will use this both in terms of increasing its recalcitrance to compromise with the United States and the P5+1 in the nuclear deal but also to offer the lure that perhaps Iran might be able to moderate the Taliban.”
Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, Senior Director of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) and former coordinator of ISIL, Al-Qaida and Taliban Monitoring Team at the U.N. Security Council, speculated as to whether Iran will support the new Taliban government:
“There is still a commonality on a general hatred of the United States, but the jury is still out in Tehran on whether or not the Taliban are going to create more problems or more solutions for the Iranians. There were triumphant statements about the withdrawal of the United States and the way it was done. Obviously, that emboldens Iran.”
Finally, member of European Parliament (European People’s Party) and former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, expanded on what the world should expect from the Taliban:
“I have very low expectations of this Taliban team. Their charm offensive should not be trusted. They have not fought us for twenty years in order now to be guardians of a liberal order. They are religious fanatics, and they’ll do what religious fanatics do.”
To watch the event in full, please click here.