I’m not sure if this classifies as “dialogue” between the two countries, but lost in the news concerning Haleh Esfandiari and Parnaz Azim’s released is that it was done primarily through Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s orders. According to the LA Times, Khamenei was replying to a letter from Esfandiari’s boss, former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, the co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, who wrote a “respectful letter asking for Esfandiari’s release and pledging to work for peace between the U.S. and Iran.” More importantly, it reveals the lack of understanding by US officials as to Iranian intentions. As the op-ed notes:
After 27 years of severed relations, U.S. understanding of Iran appears to be shallower than ever, even as Iranian politics remain a black box. With tensions rising between the two adversaries, that’s a dangerous disconnect. U.S. and Iranian officials are slated to meet for a third round of talks about Iraq. Now is the time to broaden the agenda and begin a real conversation.
I think the conclusion hits it on the dot. Wars and conflicts generally begin as a result of misunderstanding or the lack of communication. Had the US not talked to the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, it is very likely that the two countries would have gone to war. More Iranians in the US should be pushing for dialogue. Unfortunetly, because so many of them are self-interested, they continue to push for confrontation and war, despite the fact that it is both disastrous for Americans and Iranians alike. Once again the self-interested politics of the Iranian Diaspora.