On Thursday, I posted On US-Iran Relations, arguing that normalizing relations with the US and the West would require Ayatollah Khamenei’s personal intervention to force different factions within the principlists (hardliners) to accept limits on the country’s nuclear program and to end relations with extremist organizations in the region.
Yesterday, British Ambassador to the United Nations, John Sawers, said in a BBC documentary that in 2005 the Iranians were ready to strike a deal whereby they stop their support of the violent extremists and Iraqi insurgents engaged in killing the US and British forces in Iraq, if the West allowed Iran to carry on with its nuclear program.
“We stop killing you in Iraq, stop undermining political process there, you allow us to carry on with our nuclear program without let or hindrance,” Ambassador Sawers said in the documentary, “Iran and the West: Nuclear Confrontation” [BBC, Saturday 21 February].
We are not sure of the details and the extent of Iran’s offer; we only know Ambassador Sawers’ account of the event. However, it is quite feasible to assume that the Iranian government is, and has been, looking to find ways to strike a deal with the West.
If the West accepts limited (less the 4%) uranium enrichment program and lift economic sanctions against Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei will be in a position to force the principlists to accept normalizing relations with the Obama administration and the West and disengage from extremist organizations in the region.