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'Bush ruined prospect of Iran-US talks': Former US National Security Adviser

Press TV - A former US national security adviser says the Bush administration's bid to isolate Iran has ruined chances of Washington-Tehran talks.

"What [the US] can do and can't do with Iran is...pretty much a mystery because we have not been prepared to explore with them what the possibilities are," IPS quoted Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft as saying on Tuesday.

The former US Air Force official said that the Bush administration's Iran policy has been inspired by a neoconservative worldview, which has been counterproductive for American interests.

Scrowcroft criticized the Bush administration for ignoring the Islamic Republic's diplomatic efforts, including a 2003 overture that could have paved the way for Tehran and Washington to thaw frozen ties after nearly 30 years.

A BBC report claims that in the spring of 2003, senior Iranian officials - through a Swiss intermediary - had proposed to negotiate with the Bush administration on its nuclear program and offered concrete concessions that went very far toward meeting US concerns.

Top Bush administration officials, who were convinced that the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, dismissed the initiative out of hand.

"As soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's (Dick Cheney) office, the old mantra of 'we don't talk to evil' ... reasserted itself," said former state department official Lawrence Wilkerson.

"To our embarrassment at State ... the cable that I saw go back to the Swiss actually upbraided the Swiss for being so bold and audacious as to present such a proposal to us on behalf of the Iranians," he added.

Former CIA operative Flynt Leverett described the documents as 'a serious effort, a respectable effort to lay out a comprehensive agenda for US-Iranian rapprochement'.

... Payvand News - 11/12/08 ... --

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