WASHINGTON: With battle lines drawn in the confrontation with Iran, the United States desperately needs an opening, a line of communication.
Everyone seems to agree that the crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is fed at least in part by a lack of understanding between the United States and the Islamic Republic, two states which have not had diplomatic relations for decades. Surprisingly there is an existing way for them to talk but it is not being used. It is a channel where contacts can take place under-the-radar, where signals can be passed discreetly. That channel is US diplomats in international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, where envoys who rub shoulders with their Iranian counterparts in various conferences and often serve on the same committees are not now engaging with the Iranians. US diplomats are instructed not to reach out, or to be open, to their Iranian counterparts. This is a wasted opportunity. Keep reading →