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.

The substantial agenda for such talks could include 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.

Cross-posted to The Glittering Eye.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Wayne says:

    How about talking about all the support Iran is giving to insurgents and terrorist in Iraq.

    Yes, we should talk but the chances that the talks will accomplish anything are next to nothing. Maybe a few promises which the US will keep their part but Iraq will totally ignore thiers.

  2. bob in fl says:

    It seems strange to me that the totally secretive, absolute dictatorship in North Korea was cut more slack with their nuclear negotiations than the semi democratic government in Iran. Considering their help in the war against the Taliban, it is even more strange. Oh, right. There is no oil to fight over in North Korea.

    If we hold discussions with Iran without pre-conditions, it is possible to form an agreement we all can live with. If we don’t, we are no worse off than we are now.