January 18, 2007
|Refusing To Take Yes For An Answer||Iran|
BBC reports that in 2003 Iran offered to concede pretty much everything the White House claims it wants, and Cheney turned them down:
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.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had allowed the rebel group to base itself in Iraq, putting it under US power after the invasion.
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."
Observers say the Iranian offer as outlined nearly four years ago corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now. [Emphasis added]
This isn't the first time the Bush administration has refused to take yes for an answer when its heart was set on war. You'd think by now we would have learned to ignore their words — it is their actions that matter. They want war, apparently having learned exactly nothing from the past four years.