WikiLeaks and Iran, Take 2: Former State Department Official Confirms Obama Was Never Serious about Engaging Iran

We were struck by a by Reza Marashi — former State Department desk officer for Iran who now works as the National Iranian American Council’s research director.  For us, the most striking passage is the following: It should now be clear that U.S. policy has never been a true engagement policy.  By definition, engagement entails a long-term approach that abandons “sticks” and reassures both sides that their respective fears are unfounded.  We [U.S. officials working on Iran policy] realized early on that the [Obama] administration was unlikely to adopt this approach.  Instead, we pursued a “carrot and stick” strategy similar to the Bush administration, utilizing positive and negative inducements to convince Iran that changing its behavior would be its most rewarding and least harmful decision.  The key difference between the Bush and Obama approach is an effort by the latter to fix tactical mistakes by the former.  By disavowing regime change, striking diplomatic quid pro quos with key allies, and dropping preconditions to diplomacy with Iran, Obama changed tactics, but maintained an objective similar to his predecessor — making Iran yield on the nuclear issue through pressure. . . .     

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