chapter  7
16 Pages

Iran and the United States in the shadow of 9/11: Persia and the Persian question revisited

ByALI M. ANSARI

In a recent trip to Europe, the new US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, sought to heal the wounds which had emerged over the US decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. She found a receptive Europe, anxious to avoid the rifts of the past and keen to accentuate the positive. In the aftermath of the elections in Iraq, there was even room for some agreement on how best to deal with Iran and her ambitions for a nuclear programme. Everyone agreed that Iran was not Iraq, and, by all accounts, the Bush administration appeared content to allow the Europeans to pursue their negotiations with a view to resolving ‘Iran’ through diplomatic means. Indeed, it now seemed that far from sitting on the sidelines – waiting for the negotiations to fail – the United States had agreed to actively support the EU negotiations with offers of their own. Yet behind all the smiles, there was an air of discontent and barely disguised disagreement. The Americans were proving reluctant partners and their rediscovered faith in diplomacy, and the UN for that matter, seemed less a result of deliberate policy and more a consequence of its absence.2