Recap: Republic Underground’s guest appearance on Peer Talks

Editorial | Republic Underground
February 7, 2021
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At noon on Sunday, Republic Underground’s media vice president Irina Tsukerman was invited to the Peer Talks show.

Peer Talks announced the program, which focused on the U.S. and Iran policy and relations, as follows:

Irina Tsukerman is the Vice President of Timberwolf Phoenix LLP, a US-based media, security, and defense consultancy. She is a human rights lawyer and national security analyst, who had graduated from Fordham University with degrees in International/Intercultural Studies and Middle East Studies, and received her JD from Fordham University School of Law. Irina is also an adviser to the London-based International Justice Organization, a spokesperson for the Gulf Israel Human Rights Forum, and the secretary of the New York-based cultural organization Moroccan Americans in New York. Irina has written and commented extensively on information warfare, geopolitics, US foreign policy, and MENA for a variety of domestic and international media and think-tanks; she has briefed members of Congress on foreign policy issues, including Iran, security, and human rights; and her work has been translated to Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Kurdish, Azerbaijani, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Indonesian, Chinese, and Russian.

The program was powered by MelonApp and aired on YouTube and Facebook. It ran for 39 minutes.

Show host Peer Mudassir welcomed Tsukerman to his show by first asking her to give a few details about her background in geopolitical analysis.

“The company I’m working for now does deal with cybersecurity, but it also deals with other forms of security and media as well. It’s called Timberwolf Phoenix. My background is that I’m a lawyer. My specialty is in human rights, and I’m also an analyst in national security and geopolitical issues. I’m mainly focused on the Middle East and North Africa regions.

But, being born in Ukraine, makes me kind of naturally acquainted with that part of the world, Russia, Ukraine, the former Soviet Union Republics. A lot of my work deals with the South Caucasus, with Azerbaijan and its relationship with its neighbors,” said Tsukerman, by way of introduction. She then began to explain her background in writing on human rights issues regarding Azerbaijan. She likewise explained her work with peacebuilding and justice organization, as well as the legal cases that she had represented. She is a member of such as the International Justice Organization based in England and works directly with the American Jewish community and the Moroccan Jewish community to form stronger relations.

Watch the whole replay at this link. 

Mudassir asked further about the normalization of Morocco and Israel relations. Tsukerman stated that, while the credit went to Morocco’s king and the Israeli government for finalizing the normalization, her team had pushed for this with their writings and their activism. Her team hoped to educate Moroccans and Israelis on each other’s countries so that normalization could become a reality.

Mudassir also softened the mood by making a joke about the U.S. elections that were allegedly tampered with. Tsukerman noted that, while the elections were possibly tampered with by Russia, the election intervention was concerningly mostly contained within the United States. Other countries that had an interest in exploiting the elections included China and Iran.

“They are more concerned with the social rather than the technical aspect. The human aspect is always the biggest issue in security because you can always invent a new method,” said Tsukerman.

Once introductions were concluded, Mudassir turned the conversation to Iran and U.S. policy.
“Today I was reading a statement by the leader of the Iranian regime. They were pushing the U.S. administration to go back to those agreements that were there during Obama’s time. President Trump just overrode every agreement and imposed sanctions on Iran. Now they are pushing America to go back to those agreements again.

What do you think? Biden was a very vibrant part of the Obama administration, and now the whole team that was there with President Obama is back in the office again. But the world has changed, the region has changed, Abraham Accords took place. There are so many new bonds and allies, alliances have taken place in the region. So, do you really think that the Biden administration can go back to those agreements?,” asked Mudassir.

“Let’s start with the fact that the JCPOA, the nuclear deal as everyone called, was never an actual agreement. Nothing was signed by either party. It was a policy. It was a policy of engagement. You can’t call it a treaty. It was an executive a policy. It was an agreement of the U.S. government that was never approved by Congress, by the way, to lift sanctions in exchange for a nuclear program freeze. Which we know, from various organizations, and nuclear watchdog systems, that the agreement was not abided by Iran.”

Tsukerman then stated that, because there was no signature, it was not considered a treaty or an agreement.

“What this is calling for is a unilateral return of the U.S. government to the policies of the Obama administration, without neccesarily acquiescing to what was asked by Obama at the time, which was a bilateral agreement. Now, you could say, that due to the changes since then, at this point, Congress would probably insist on a treaty-level agreement, if that same set of circumstances is to be observed. Congress is now in Democratic hands. They primarily agree with the Biden administration on most major issues, and they are certainly not going to cause problems.”

She then explained how the Congress was unlikely to generate the kind of objection, even with Republican dissent, to prevent a treaty-level approach.

From this insight, they launched a full discussion of policy points that will shape the future of the region.