Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ex-CIA Spy: History of Failed Negotiations Shows Iran Won't Deal

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ex-CIA Spy: History of Failed Negotiations Shows Iran Won't Deal

Article excerpt

President Obama errs in pushing nuclear negotiation, writes this ex-CIA spy in Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Four US presidents tried and failed. The problem lies in Iran's fanatic ideology. Biting sanctions and US overt support for the Iranian people will bring real change.

President Obama, in his State of the Union Address, said he will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and that all options to prevent that are on the table.

More importantly, Obama said the Islamic regime, which fuels terrorism worldwide and oppresses its own people at home, could still rejoin the international community "if it changes course and meets its obligations." That is not going to happen - despite glimmers of hope after a trip of UN nuclear inspectors to Iran this week.

As a former CIA spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, I wrote a cautionary, open letter to President Obama when he took office three years ago. I said I was worried that he failed to see the realities of the regime's fanaticism.

In offering to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program, Mr. Obama must have believed that the aggressive policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, were to blame for the lack of progress. But I reminded the new president of the long history of attempted rapprochement by every US administration, each attempt ending in failure.

I explained that the very ideology of Iran's Islamic leaders was the sole reason for no progress in a negotiated settlement. They simply would not close an honest deal with infidels.

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration was involved in deep negotiations with Iran over arms sales and normalization of US- Iranian ties. National Security Council staffer Oliver North could barely contain himself over the prospect of peace with Iran.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, then speaker of Parliament, promised American authorities resumption of diplomatic relations once the founder of the Islamic regime, Ayatollah Khomeini, was dead. In exchange, he asked for arms and America's help in diminishing Saddam Hussein's Iraqi military machine.

I was in the Revolutionary Guard then, but as a CIA spy. My Guard commander mocked the Americans for believing Speaker Rafsanjani's promises. The Iran-Contra Affair, in which US arms sales to Iran funded "freedom fighter" Contras in Nicaragua, ended embarrassingly for President Reagan's administration.

President George H.W. Bush continued negotiations to improve US- Iranian relations. I was working for the CIA in Europe then when my American handler told me to consider the more moderate Rafsanjani, by then president, as the new king of Iran. This despite information I had passed on about Iran's involvement in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland - and despite the fact that Rafsanjani and other regime leaders were involved in worldwide terrorism and assassination. The elder Bush's efforts at negotiation failed.

Then President Clinton attempted to persuade Iran to stop supporting terrorism and to normalize ties with the US. But he also failed to achieve results with Mohammad Khatami, the next Iranian president. …

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