In 2015, WikiLeaks published a tranche of emails hacked from the account of future CIA Director John Brennan. Among the documents was “The Conundrum of Iran,” a draft paper, on U.S. policy toward Iran that Brennan wrote in July 2007, with recommendations for the next president. When Barack Obama was elected, Brennan became national security adviser, and then in Obama’s second term, director of the CIA.
The Wikileaks file on Brennan is not particularly sensational but it does provide clues to the thinking of Brennan, former CIA station chief in Iran, and leading critic of President Trump.
The strategy of engagement with Iran advocated by Brennan in 2007 became U.S. policy. One of Brennan’s recommendations, not fleshed out in the draft paper, was “Hold Out Meaningful Carrots, as Well as Sticks” In other words, the United States should offer Iran meaningful reward as well as implicit threats. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry adopted this approach, and the multinational agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program was the result.
Now President Trump has abandoned the agreement and Brennan is one of his fiercest critics.