By all indications, the Barack Obama administration has kicked off a spirited effort to deal with Iran rationally and pragmatically, in contrast to its predecessor’s “axis of evil” crusade mentality that vilified Iran, Iraq and North Korea. President Obama appears willing to address Iran’s security concerns as part of a comprehensive negotiation covering the nuclear standoff and regional issues. This is one reason why United States advocates of a “grand bargain” appear to be gaining the upper hand in the current debate on the US’s Iran policy, welcome news as far as Tehran is concerned.
A case in point is Hillary Mann Leverett, a former US official who negotiated with Iran over Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. She told the US research center the Council on Foreign Relations that the US needed to be prepared to address Iran’s security concerns. She said that in her opinion previous talks with Iran were “structurally flawed” because they were tactical and not strategic and unrelated to other topics in the stalemated relations between the two countries.