November 16, 2008
Did Iran Offer a 'Grand Bargain' in 2003?
Many articles and books have been published in the past several years alleging that, in May 2003, Iran offered the United States a promising opportunity to resolve the nuclear and terrorism issues through diplomacy, but hard-liners in the Bush Administration turned it down. Most of the stories establish their authority by quoting two former officials of the State Department and the National Security Council, Flynt Leverett and his wife Hillary Mann, and a Swiss "intermediary," former Ambassador Tim Guldimann-all forceful advocates of the view that Iran was ready for a deal. This narrative, that there was a missed diplomatic opportunity, has found a receptive audience among many who believe we fought an unnecessary war with Iraq. It is a pillar of the belief, widespread on the left, that we are in danger of being lured into an unnecessary conflict with Iran when we could resolve our differences with the Islamic Republic if only we would engage with them...(Read Full Article)