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Former US security official Flynt Leverett and others have mentioned a letter sent from the Iranian government to the United States in 2003. A version of the Iranian letter to the US has been circulating through e-mail and is posted at http://www.mideastweb.org/iranian_letter_of_2003.htm.

The letter offers to stop terror and to adopt the Arab peace initiative, in return for a softening of the US attitude to Iran. The letter was sent via the Swiss government, which represents US interests in Iran. The existence of such a letter was claimed by Flynt Leverett in a New York Times article of January 24, 2006. He wrote:

In the spring of 2003, shortly before I left government, the Iranian Foreign Ministry sent Washington a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences. The document acknowledged that Iran would have to address concerns about its weapons programs and support for anti-Israeli terrorist organizations. It was presented as having support from all major players in Iran's power structure, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A conversation I had shortly after leaving the government with a senior conservative Iranian official strongly suggested that this was the case. Unfortunately, the administration's response was to complain that the Swiss diplomats who passed the document from Tehran to Washington were out of line.
( source - http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/fleverett/20060124.htm )

Leverett referred to the letter again in an interview dated March 31, 2006. He believes the letter, sent in late April or in May of 2003, was prompted by the start of the US invasion of Iraq, which made the Iranian government of reformist former President Khatami believe that it had to come to terms with the USA. According to Leverett, the US government refused to consider the letter and reprimanded the Swiss for passing it on.

Leverett referred to this letter as a one page document. Elsewhere, (http://www.antiwar.com/orig/porter.php?articleid=9040) it is alleged by Gareth Porter to be a two page document. According to Porter, the significance of the document is that:

The two-page document contradicts the official line of the George W. Bush administration that Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel and the sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

If the letter is genuine, then its rejection by the United States sheds new light on the Iranian nuclear development crisis. If Israel was not consulted or informed of the existence of this peace feeler, it should raise eyebrows among those who place more or less blind trust in the idea that the USA wil never work for the detriment of Israel, and will always work for peace in the Middle East.

Iranian concessions included, according to the summary we have obtained:

  • WMD: full transparency for security that there are no Iranian endeavors to develop or possess WMD, full cooperation with IAEA based on Iranian adoption of all relevant instruments (93+2 and all further IAEA protocols)

  • Terrorism: decisive action against any terrorists (above all Al Qaida) on Iranian territory, full cooperation and exchange of all relevant information.

  • Iraq: coordination of Iranian influence for activity supporting political stabilization and the establishment of democratic institutions and a non-religious government.

  • Middle East:
    1) stop any material support to Palestinian opposition groups (Hamas, Jihad etc.) from Iranian territory, pressure on these organizations to stop violent action against civilians within borders of 1967.
    2) action on Hizbollah to become a mere political organization within Lebanon
    3) acceptance of the Arab League Beirut declaration (Saudi initiative, two-states-approach)

The full document is posted at http://www.mideastweb.org/iranian_letter_of_2003.htm

Circumstances have changed drastically since 2003. What might have worked then, is irrelevant today. No doubt the document was inspired by the obvious threat to Iran posed by the easy US victory in Iraq. Moreover, reformist President Khatami was in charge at the time. Nonetheless, we must ask, "Didn't the US miss an opportunity to gain security for Israel as well as resolve its enmity with Iran?" If the US had responded favorably to the letter, would that have catalyzed a long term shift to moderation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, prevented the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and averted the present crisis?"

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000077.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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