People kept insisting that we could solve all of our problems with Iran if we just started talking to each other. Newspapers around the world scolded us for not entering into direct talks, even though our last diplomatic contact with the Islamic Republic came when they sacked our embassy in Teheran and took our staff hostage for 444 days. Talk will bridge all gaps, critics insisted.
They should be happy today. We’ve started talking:
In their first direct talks since the Iraq war began, U.S. and Iranian envoys traded harsh words and blamed each other for the country’s crisis Saturday at a one-day international conference that some hoped would help end their 27-year diplomatic freeze. …
During the talks, U.S. envoy David Satterfield pointed to his briefcase which he said contained documents proving Iran was arming Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq.
“Your accusations are merely a cover for your failures in Iraq,” Iran’s chief envoy Abbas Araghchi shot back, according to an official familiar to the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, only said that American delegates exchanged views with the Iranians “directly and in the presence of others” during talks, which he described as “constructive and businesslike.”
But Labid Abbawi, a senior Iraqi Foreign Ministry official who attended the meeting, confirmed that an argument broke out between the Iranian and American envoys. He would not elaborate.
At least it’s a start, right? We tell them to stop fomenting the insurgencies, and they tell us to stop lying. Sounds like peace is around the corner.
UPDATE: Obviously, I prefer to talk than to exchange bombs, as Monkei points out in the comments. In fact, I don’t think a military strike on Iran would work out well for the US at all, for many reasons. However, talk means nothing when neither side is willing to give what the other wants under any circumstances. Iran wants us out of the Middle East and Israel , and we want them to stop sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East, against Israel and the democratic government in Iraq.
So far, we have no basis for barter — except to the extent that we can threaten their existence, and whatever they will give up to eliminate that threat. It’s not much of a basis for honest negotiation, and until the Iranians get rid of their millenial mullahs and their hatred of Israel, it’s not going to change.