Preconditions or Not, Iran Doesn't Want to Talk to Us

US misunderstanding of split personality hinders any progress
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2008 2:42 PM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, reviews army's helicopters during a parade in front of the mausoleum of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, Thursday, April 17, 2008.    (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama can berate President Bush for refusing to "sit down with" Iran, and John McCain can beat up Obama for proposing to do just that, but the fact is that every administration in the past 30 years has tried talking to Iran—without preconditions—and been rejected. Including Condoleezza Rice, who worked in the White House at the time and has written a book about Iran, writes Amer Taheri in the Wall Street Journal.

What the US doesn't understand is that Iran has a split personality—"Is it a country or a cause?"—and that while the former might want to negotiate, the latter, an Islamic revolution, can't. "The challenge for the US and the world is finding a way to help Iran absorb its revolutionary experience, stop being a cause, and re-emerge as a nation-state," Taheri writes.