Saturday, July 10, 2004

Dealing with a new Iran

Dealing with a new Iran: "Dealing with a new Iran

July 10, 2004
PARIS -- Whoever wins this November's presidential elections, the U.S. faces an urgent question that the Bush administration has not resolved: What is America's strategy for coping with the rising power of Iran?
Washington and Tehran have engaged in extensive secret contacts since 9/11, premised on their shared goal of destroying al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But despite many meetings, nothing has come of the contacts, partly because the Bush administration was internally divided over the right strategic course.
What's poignant about these wary U.S.-Iranian feelers is that just over a year ago, they yielded a plan for an 'anti-terrorist' deal that both countries should have loved: Iran would hand over some senior al-Qaida operatives in its custody, and the U.S. would transfer to Iran some prisoners it was holding from the Iraqi-backed Mujaheddin-e Khalq organization, a group America has branded as terrorist.
The State Department is said to have favored such a deal, but the Pentagon balked, arguing that the Mujaheddin might be useful in fomenting regime change in Tehran."

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