Reporting from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt — The Obama administration has already concluded that a diplomatic overture to Iran, one of the central promises of the president’s election campaign, is unlikely to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates in a private meeting Monday that it is “very doubtful” a U.S. approach will convince Iran to relent, said a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under customary diplomatic rules.
But Clinton, in Egypt for a conference to raise money for the war-scarred Gaza Strip, argued that an Iranian rebuff could strengthen America’s diplomatic position.
She told Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah ibn Zayed al Nuhayyan that the move would quell complaints that the United States has not exhausted diplomatic routes. At the same time, it could help persuade U.S. allies to join it in increasing pressure on the Islamic regime.
Clinton said that Iran’s “worst nightmare is an international community that is united and an American government willing to engage Iran,” according to the State official. During the election campaign, President Obama made an overture to Iran one of his central foreign policy ideas, arguing that engagement would be better than the Bush administration’s policy of seeking to isolate adversary regimes. Bush refused to deal with Iran while the countr… >>>