Get Iran and the U. S. to the Table

There’s an opinion piece in the Christian Science Monitor from John Cooley that I agree with wholeheartedly:

The UN Security Council Saturday unanimously passed a resolution to sharpen sanctions against Iran for its presumed nuclear-weapons ambitions. This unanimity provides the West with an occasion for a bold new diplomatic initiative.

The US should propose a comprehensive, formal dialogue with Iran on nuclear matters that also covers all issues that have divided Washington and Tehran since the cleric-led revolution toppled America’s former ally, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlevi, in 1979.

Before beginning such a dialogue, however, the top officials of the Bush administration should first agree among themselves and with congressional leaders on the discussion’s minimum aims – and the maximum concessions the West can offer.

There’s a substantial agenda for such talks including Iran’s nuclear program, Afghanistan, and old compensation claims. Agreements on the latter two could create a framework for negotiating an agreement on the first. Cooley concludes:

Despite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s inflammatory rhetoric, Iranians have shown in the past that they are usually amenable to solutions they find to be in their best strategic interest. Now is the time for the US and allies to rise to this opportunity for future Middle Eastern peace and face the challenge of difficult, but potentially fruitful peace diplomacy.

3 comments… add one
  • Hi Dave,
    How goes it?

    Oh…..c’mon. These people are brigands. The only `negotiations’ we could have with them are the same sort of `negotiations’ we had with the Barbary Pirates, how much baksheesh to pay them in exchange for making a pretense of behaving like civilized humans.

    It worked then, because we had an ocean separating us. How long do you think it would work nowadays?

    In order for negotiations to succeed, there are some factors that need to be present.

    First, both nations must be convinced that they have something to gain by negotiating that they can’t obtain any other way, and second, both nations must be convinced of the other party’s trustworthiness and willingness to keep agreements.

    I think we can safely say, based on that, that negotiations with Iran are pretty much a non-starter from both Iran’s standpoint and ours.

    Remember also that Iran, being a Muslim nation does not have the Western viewpoint on agreements and keeping them with us infidels.

    Read up on some of Mohammed’s `negotiations’ sometime in the Hadiths.

    And BTW, what do you think our negotiating with this regime, treating them on an equal basis would do to the Iranian dissident movement?

    I’m all for negotiation with reasonable people if it has a reasonable chance of success. neither applies with the mullahs, IMO.

    The sooner we stomp on these cockroaches the better. Once jihad is a defeated and discredited, the Muslim world can start again with a clean slate – or not, as it chooses. but in any case, they’ll know better than to mess with us again.

    All best,

  • FF, we’ve probably pushed the UNSC about as far along the sanctions road as they’re willing to go. Which is not all that far. We’re already doing about as much as is possible unilaterally in that regard.

    Barring some stupid gaffe on the part of the Iranians we’re not going to invade or bomb Iran. It’s not going to happen. We’re more likely to withdraw completely from the Middle East and leave the region to its own devices than we are to bomb or invade Iran.

    What’s left? Answer: negotiations. And, as Cooley notes, the Iranians will make and keep agreements that are in their strategic interests. Least bad option.

  • Hi Dave,
    I’m afraid you’re correct about the Bush Administration and the Democrat majority congresses’ intention to pretty much withdraw from the Middle East.

    That doesn’t make it the right decision…..I would also point out that this neatly fits in with al Qaeda and Iran’s stated objective.

    Unfortunately, IMO this will not end there, any more than the Nazis were satisfied with Czechoslovakia. And no agreement we make with the Mullahs will be kept in the least, for the reasons I outlined above.

    We don’t have the option of taking a vacation from history.

    All Best,


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