Friday, January 19, 2007

Iran Offered Deal To U.S. In 2003

A good bit of this story has been circulating for a while now, but it appears -- Wilkerson does happen to be a credible witness -- that the Iranian nuclear weapons bugaboo could have been avoided.

The difficulty of deducing an innocent motivation for why the U.S. would scotch the proffered deal is not inconsiderable.

Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.

Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility.

But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said.

The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities.

In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members. ...

One of the then Secretary of State Colin Powell's top aides told the BBC the state department was keen on the plan - but was over-ruled.

"We thought it was a very propitious moment to do that," Lawrence Wilkerson told Newsnight.

"But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself."

The OVP recognized the need for Iran to remain a threat to the U.S., especially in light of the "cakewalk" that the Iraq war was assumed to be.

The plan in the halcyon days of 2003 was to "set 'em up, and knock 'em down." Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Easy as that.


Blogger Meatball One said...

Didn't we touch upon a related item a few months ago - in a post, in a comment, or at a bar?

Something about Iranian proposals for peace, love, and understanding being channeled through the US ambassador in Swissyland (who in turn got his head chewed off by the admin. for funneling along fruits of liasons that might threaten to undermine the credibility of publicly declared policy narratives).

1/20/2007 1:17 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

[steam coming out ears]
WHY didn't Colin Powell ever speak up about all this, and all the other stuff he could have spoken out! I mean, there's party loyalty and all that, but ... there's also doing the right goddamned thing.

1/20/2007 1:26 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


I believe that you are right. The Swiss have been representing U.S. interests in Iran for decades now.

Any diplomatic initiative would have likely been transmitted via that source.

And you are specifically correct about the reason why we spurned the outreach. Maintaining a stable of ready enemies is harder than most people imagine. You clearly remember the uncertainty the U.S. security establishment experienced following the fall of the Commie Bloc.

Cultivating the anger of the world may be a not-altogether unexpected (or unwanted) result of the Iraq adventure.

1/20/2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Powell suffers from a constellation of disfunctional ideas and traits governing his relationship to ultimate power in the National Security State.

He can speak out now, but does so to such a milquetoastian degree that it seems to be a big clue to other skullduggery.

Like the dog that didn't bark in the Sherlock Holmes story.

1/20/2007 8:42 AM  

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