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Iran: Discussing Iraq with the US
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 17, 2006

Developments in negotiations with Iran:
Iran and the United States agreed Thursday to hold direct talks on how to halt sectarian violence and restore calm in Iraq, offering the first face-to-face conversation between the sides after months of confrontation over Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, announced in Iran's Parliament on Thursday that he would send a team of negotiators to Iraq to meet with American representatives there. But he also suggested in an interview that there would be stiff preconditions.

"I think Iraq is a good testing ground for America to take a harder look at the way it acts," Mr. Larijani said in his office shortly after making the announcement. "If there's a determination in America to take that hard look, then we're prepared to help."
A point and an aside. The point? It appears a little tit-for-tat negotiation might be in the offing. Why would the "chief nuclear negotiator" be interested in discussing ways to halt sectarian violence in Iraq? Seems to me he'd only be interested if he thought he'd somehow be successful in wringing an agreement out of Washington to back off a bit on the present policy of confrontation over nukes.

Frankly (and pragmatically) this is probably something we should seriously consider. If estimates are correct, Iran is quite a way off in terms of nuclear weapons whereas our need to dampen the sectarian strife in Iraq is pretty immediate. The most obvious way Iran can help in that regard is to withdraw its agents and to stop materially supporting the militias (and insurgents).

As an aside, note the language in the last quote from Larijani. Not only will America be taking a "hard look" but so will Iran. Of course that's not the position a negotiator would take in a public statement, but it is an unspoken one. It may be useful in reducing the sectarian violence in Iraq, but it may also be useful in establishing a one-on-one dialogue about nukes under the guise of something else (and thus giving cover to more extended negotiations without national ego becoming involved).

This could could actually turn out to be be something diplomatically useful in the long run.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

These are like the "negotiations" with Russia about uranium enrichment. Nothing more than a delay tactic to buy more time. The Iranian regime has no intention of helping the U.S. in any way, just as they had no intention of allowing Russia to control their fuel cycles. Negotiations will inevitably "fall through" months later, after a few more tons of unranium have been purified.
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
ABC News is reporting that Condoleeza Rice is indicating the U.S. would consider meeting with Iran to talk about Iraq but not Tehran’s nuclear program.


The United States has not ruled out talks with Iran about Iraq, but any discussions would not cover Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

"This is not a negotiation of some kind," Rice said after meeting with Australia’s prime minister, John Howard.

She did not give a timeline for potential talks and indicated they would involve only the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.

ABC News: Rice Says U.S. Would Consider Meeting Iran
Written By: Marlin
URL: http://
I’ve found no reason to believe Iran would ever do the slightest thing to "help" us. I’ve found no reason to believe Iran would ever honor any commitment or promise to any Western agency, let alone to the Great Satan.

I’d like to believe there is some way to resolve our disputes with Iran through diplomacy, but until there is some grounds for good-faith agreements, it’s all looking pretty futile.
Written By: equitus
URL: http://

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