- "[T]he parties had to choose intermediaries with great care."
- "Negotiators had to deal carefully with harsh domestic political climates and with the legacy of bitterness and hostility between Iranians and Americans." Limbert makes clear that the climate was truly "toxic" on both sides during this period.
- "The Islamic Republic's priority was its own survival." Why should this be surprising? Iran was at war -- eventually losing 100,000 or more of its citizens. Plus, Iranians felt that "the world [was] arrayed against them."
- "A search for justice remained at the center of Iran's negotiating position." They wanted the world to acknowledge that they were the aggrieved party -- both when outsiders manipulated their internal affairs and when Iraq started a bloody conflict.
|Bazaaris in Tehran, selling "pesteh" (pistachios)|
Let me wrap up this excursion into sanity, by quoting from today's Washington Post op-ed page, a piece entitled "Counter Iran with diplomacy, not threats." It was co-authored by William H. Luers (former ambassador and past-president of the U.N. Association), and Thomas R. Pickering (former undersecretary of state and ambassador to Russia, Israel, Jordan and the United Nations):
"The United States must set out on a relentless search for a better way to get at this seemingly unknowable regional power. Without that patient search for different ways to deal with Tehran, Washington will be stuck with a policy that will not change Iran's practices or its regime and could lead to a catastrophic war."