Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why did USA squander peace with Iran?

Breast beating and forehead slapping have started in the USA, because the Bush Administration missed out big time to work out a peaceful deal with Tehran.

They had a chance to sort out things with the Iranians but deliberately blotched the whole deal by their determined and arrogant 'no deal at all cost' posture. Critics, including two former Bush Administration officials, European diplomats, and policy experts, said Washington squandered a golden opportunity to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program.

Flynt Leverett, a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, and Paul Pillar, who served as the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East, revealed the sorry tale of American arrogant belligerence.

After the invasion of Iraq, in May 2003, the Iranians sent messages to Washington through the Swiss ambassador to Tehran to discuss stuff with the Americans on virtually everything from Iran’s nuclear program to Washington’s claim of its support for alleged terrorist groups. The Swiss has been representing US interest in Iran.

Leverett said: “The Iranians acknowledged that WMD and support for terror were serious causes of concern for us, and they were willing to negotiate. The message had been approved by all the highest levels of authority. They wanted us to deal with sanctions, security guarantees, normalisation of relations, and support for integration of Iran into the World Trade Organisation."

Iran's envoys to Sweden and Britain were also conveying the regime’s readiness to negotiate an understanding with the Americans. And other channels, such as intelligence network were receiving such indications as well.

But according to Leverett and Pillar, the Bush Administration was not interested at all. Washington demonstrated its ultimate arrogance when it told off the Swiss ambassador, Tim Guldimann. The Bush Adminstration informed the Swiss envoy that he had overstepped his role as an intermediary by passing the Iranian message.

By telling the Swiss ambassador off, the Americans were actually sending a message to the Iranians to either bugger off or capitulate to US demands. Leverett and Pillar suggested that the Administration was deliberately looking for trouble by avoiding any negotiation with the Iranians.

Because of the American snub, the Iranians knew the US was out to get them. The Bush's ‘axis of evil’ speech supported their suspicion. The Iranians decided that there would be no sincere negotiation from the Americans, and started to dig in, with a more determined conservative and defiant posture.

Diplomacy has been and is the art of the possible, as could be seen by the persistent and sometimes frustrating negotiations with North Korea, but why had the Americans deliberately pushed Iran into a corner when the Persians had indicated a willingness to negotiate, an attitude that was far more accommodating than the Koreans?

KTemoc believes that the USA could have been “under instructions” not to negotiate but to confront the Iranians head-on and drive them into war or submission [dismantle their N-programme]. Iran represents a fearful threat to someone who wants to see the same US ‘shock & awe’ devastation for the Iranians as the Iraqis had suffered.

You tell me who would have guided Washington down the path of no negotiation, no diplomacy, no peace, no reasoning and no return! You figure out who would be interested in seeing a devastated Iran. You work out whose security would benefit most from an incapacitated Tehran.

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