Steely Resolve Update

STEELY RESOLVE UPDATE….Remember that 2003 letter from Iran proposing “comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences”? I’ve blogged about it before here. Today, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post reports that he has gotten a copy of the letter itself and can tell us exactly what Iran was prepared to talk about:

The document lists a series of Iranian aims for the talks, such as ending sanctions, full access to peaceful nuclear technology and a recognition of its “legitimate security interests.” Iran agreed to put a series of U.S. aims on the agenda, including full cooperation on nuclear safeguards, “decisive action” against terrorists, coordination in Iraq, ending “material support” for Palestinian militias and accepting the Saudi initiative for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The document also laid out an agenda for negotiations, with possible steps to be achieved at a first meeting and the development of negotiating road maps on disarmament, terrorism and economic cooperation.

That’s pretty comprehensive, all right. And why did we turn down the offer? Kessler tells us that too:

Top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration officials said.

That demonstrates some savvy foreign policy insight, doesn’t it? Turn down an unprecedented offer from Iran when they’re weak and we’re strong, and then three years later reluctantly agree to much narrower talks when they’re stronger and we’re weaker. Great job, guys.

NOTE TO POST EDITORS: Nice job putting this on page A16. It’s not as if this is anything important, after all.