On Iran Negotiations, US is Untrustworthy


In a new report, the International Crisis Group suggests the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani does present a potential diplomatic opening, and that the U.S. should organize direct bilateral engagement with Iran (as opposed to the hollow P5+1). “Now is not the time to ramp up sanctions against Iran,” ICG adds.

The report’s recommendations will never happen because Washington isn’t interested in actually reaching a substantive deal with Iran. Most of Obama’s so-called diplomacy with Iran has been “predicated on intimidation, illegal threats of military action, unilateral ‘crippling’ sanctions, sabotage, and extrajudicial killings of Iran’s brightest minds,” writes Reza Nasri at PBS Frontline’s Tehran Bureau. This, despite a consensus in the military and intelligence community that Iran is not currently developing nuclear weapons and has not even made the political decision to do so.

As former CIA analyst Paul Pillar has pointed out, the sanctions are “designed to fail.” Congress’s legislation links the sanctions to a long list of Iranian policies not at all related to their nuclear program. This makes lifting them really difficult in the context of nuclear negotiations.

Beyond the obvious charade of diplomacy, the Iranians aren’t necessarily likely to be susceptible to U.S. proposals. And for very good reason: Washington is untrustworthy.

As the ICG report notes, Rouhani has experience in substantive diplomacy. He “is the architect of the sole nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the West, a not inconsiderable achievement given the depth of mistrust.” But,

lessons he has learned from the 2003/2004 deal – and from the bitter criticism he subsequently endured at home – could well induce him to greater caution; in hindsight, the agreement was seen as deeply flawed and one in which Iran’s suspension resulted neither in recognition of its right to enrichment nor in promised nuclear, technological, economic and security inducements. A former colleague said, “he made all the concessions the Europeans asked for in 2003 and 2004. But the West left him empty-handed and under fire from Iranian hardliners”.

It’s not the first time Iranian give has been met with nothing but American take. After the failed talks in 2009 and 2010, wherein Obama ended up rejecting the very deal he demanded the Iranians accept, as Harvard professor Stephen Walt has written, the Iranian leadership “has good grounds for viewing Obama as inherently untrustworthy.” Pillar has concurred, arguing that Iran has “ample reason” to believe, “ultimately the main Western interest is in regime change.”

Despite this, be prepared to see virtually the entire political and media establishment frame any U.S.-Iranian tension going forward as wholly the fault of the intransigent ayatollahs and assume nothing but goodwill on the part of Washington.

30 thoughts on “On Iran Negotiations, US is Untrustworthy”

  1. Spot on. Thank you for the beautifully written article.

    How long will these and so many other injustices perpotrated by these warmongers last?

  2. This is why your website has no credibility. It is not anti-war, it is on the side of the tyrants and totalitarians as is the case with your anti-Americanism and support for the theocratic fascist regime in Iran. Shame on you, shame on Justin Raimondo and your website.

    1. You're a shameless anti-Iranian with zero self-esteem. You’re inviting foreign powers to attack Iran your country of birth. What a disgusting character? The Israeli crowd is getting restless, scared and barking louder and louder, but to no avail. Iran is no longer susceptible to intimidation, and no power on earth could affect its direction or future. The Iranian people are proud nationalist; they are ready to defeat any aggressor and end the miserable Zionist bullying in the region forever. So chill out dude, and get a job instead of sitting home and trolling 24/7 in every single forum discussing Iranian issues spewing your ugly anti Iran nonsense.

      1. Beautiful to see the Islamofascist supporters of the Islamic Republic on full display. This is what this site is. It is not an "anti-war" site but rather a site full of supporters for rogue regimes such as the one occupying Iran and other brutal regimes such as that of Assad. The bottom line is that the international community will take all actions necessary to prevent this regime from acquiring nuclear weapons. And that includes first and foremost military actions. Let's just hope that the end objective is regime change and not solely the nuclear sites.

        1. The best way to stop the islamofascism is from within. Islam is part of the Iranian culture whether you like it or not. Moderation and reform will be a slow progress, and it will happen faster without any war. Attacking Iran will only unite people and empower extremist ideologies. Only through peace, prosperity, and good international standing, will there be real progress. War will only bring destruction. Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lybia… Is that what you want to happen to your homeland? I'm also Iranian, that's the last thing I would want to see.

          1. Does he not understand that dropping nuclear devices on people or starving them with economic sanctions (an act of war) is not going to help anyone except The Imperial City? Now, do I like Iran's government? Hell no! I don't like any government. They're all about themselves. It's always been that and always will be.

    2. Sassy. Go back to trolling Mondoweiss or better, meet my friend Gym. A gut might have worked for Hitch; you just look like Jamie Kirchick knocked you up.

    3. "This is why your website has no credibility. It is not anti-war, it is on the side of the tyrants and totalitarians"

      You mean like the US government?


  3. why do y’all alleged reporters continue to repeat this tripe?

    “…Iran is not currently developing nuclear weapons and has
    not even made the political decision to do so.”

    hasn’t made the decision to build nukes? they’ve already
    made the decision NOT to.

  4. Glaser,

    Don't forget the almighty General Martin Dempsey's sage advice now:

    "They are saying all the right things, but then you have to look at their actions. We know they are involved inside Syria, they are involved in…militias. So we have to examine their real motives."

    –General Martin Dempsey (8/31/2012)


    Just listen to the General Glaser…

  5. Sassan:

    This site offers a rare perspective of foreign news which otherwise is congested with biased and pro Western news elsewhere.

    Faramarz Fathi

  6. Well said. But you didn't mention the elephant in the room. Israel and it's lobby are the main reason the US will never normalize relations with the current Iranian government. Israel wants regime change in Iran and it'll use it's power over it's puppet the US congress to sanction Iran and all of Iranians to starvation.

  7. "ultimately the main western interest is in regime change."

    Even less glaringly obvious than Bushco's Iraqi intentions. The US has been slavering for so long about reseating the Shah that a focus on anything else verges on criminal stupidity. Iran is right up there with Jenkin's ear, the Seattle Pig, the Nazi's 'stab in the back', the Maddox 'attacks' and Israel's existential threats as the ultimate paranoic's casus belli.

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