In light of President Obama’s upcoming meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, NCRI hosted a live Twitter chat this morning with Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Professor and Graduate Program Director at University of Baltimore.

s Director of the Negotiation and Conflict Management graduate program in the School of Public and International Affairs and founding Co-Director of the Global Affairs and Human Security graduate program, Dr. Sheehan was able to provide expert insight on topics including Maliki’s visit to the White House, putting pressure on the Iraqi Government and the seven hostages.

A resounding theme amongst the conversation was how to push the U.S. to apply pressure on the Iraqi Government to release the hostages and provide protection for the Iranian dissidents still in Iraq. Dr. Sheehan explained that it is necessary now to convince the White House and Congress that action is needed to protect primary opposition to clerical rule.  He also noted that the visit between Maliki and President Obama will not only shed light on future relations with Baghdad but also will clearly display the United States’ policy stance with Iran.  He dived into further detail on this point in his video here.

Dr. Sheehan reiterated the need to put pressure on the Iranian and Iraqi governments stating, “Tehran fears internal threats. My advice for the White House is to engage Tehran from a position of strength.” Dr. Sheehan explains his position further in his video here.

“It’s Halloween in the U.S. but Prime Minister Maliki need wear no costume to the White House meeting tomorrow,” Sheehan expressed in his closing of the conversation, shedding light on his opinion of tomorrow’s meeting at the White House. “Thugs should be treated as such,” Sheehan added.

To learn more about Dr. Sheehan and his work, visit

Dr. Sheehan also referenced several articles that provided additional information for the #FreeThe7 participants.  Articles referenced can be found through the following links:  The Hill, The Huffington Post, Senator McCain and UPI.

NCRI will continue to host live Twitter chats in the coming weeks. Join in the conversation by following @Iran_Policy and #FreeThe7 on Twitter.