The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

18 NOVEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL No, no, no, we won’t pull out. We will wait for Congress to make its decision. My criteria are the criteria that have been spelled out in rather great detail in the deal. But then, it’s up to Congress to adopt any decision, or not to adopt any decision, and I believe in the past a Republican Congress had this idea to let the nuclear agreement stay, as did our parliament. Neither one approved the deal; neither our parliament, nor the U.S. Congress. They didn’t approve of the deal, but they allowed it to stay. Ours pursued its own procedure by requiring me to report to parliament every three months and by requiring the government to take certain actions if the appropriate domestic authority found the United States not to be in compliance. So did the U.S. Congress. But, it would be important what Congress decides. It had decided in the past not to take action; it can [so] decide again. And then a lot would depend on how Europe responds to this … a whole range of options are open—and based on the realities on the ground, Iran will exercise its option. —Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammed Javad Zarif, responding to a question about whether Iran would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) if the United States pulls out. From a late-September interview with Susan Glasser for The Global Politico Oct. 2 podcast. Contemporary Quote Research using their large-scale, nation- wide online research panel between June 27 and July 19. The margin of error is ±2.4 percentage points. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization that provides insight and influences the public dis- course on critical global issues. Cuba Case Points to Risks Diplomats Take As this issue of The Foreign Service Journal goes to press, we are no closer to answers on what caused close to two dozen U.S. diplomats and famil y members to suffer health problems while posted in Havana during the past two years. The issue has focused attention on the nature of diplomatic service and the risks members of the Foreign Service take when posted overseas. While neither advocating nor opposing the withdrawal of American diplomats from Cuba, AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson responded to several media requests for comment. In a conversation with NPR reporter Michele Kelemen for a Sept. 29 story on “All Things Considered.” Amb. Stephenson said that members of the Foreign Service are deployed all over the world in environments that put their health and lives at risk, but that their work is essential. “AFSA’s view is that America’s diplo- mats need to remain on the field and in the game. We have a mission to do. It’s an important mission. And we’re used to operating with serious health risks in many environments around the world,” Amb. Stephenson said. Having members of the U.S. Foreign Service engaged in the field at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, she emphasized, is vital to the preservation of American interests. More than 60 media outlets across the country picked up the AFSA presi- dent’s message. Meanwhile, following a Sept. 26 meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Secretary Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert reported: “The Secretary con- veyed the gravity of the situation and underscored the Cuban authorities’ obligations to protect embassy staff and their families under the Vienna Conven- tion.” Cuba has stringently denied any wrongdoing and is conducting its own investigation, in addition to facilitating the U.S. investigation. So far, U.S. inves- tigators have not found any devices linked to the attacks and the cause of the symptoms remains unknown. On Sept. 29 the State Department ordered the departure of 15 non- emergency personnel and all family members from U.S. Embassy Havana pending resolution of the problem, and on Oct. 2 gave the same number of Cuban diplomats two weeks to depart from the United States. Visa services at the U.S. embassy in Havana have been suspended indefinitely. Q This edition of Talking Points was compiled by Gemma Dvorak, Donna Gorman, Dmitry Filipoff, Susan Maitra and Shawn Dorman.