The Barack Obama administration has authorized a secret demarche to the Iranian regime by a former senior government official from the Bill Clinton administration. The emissary, who has no current official position in the Obama government, has traveled to Dubai ostensibly representing a private group. Dubai is a preferred destination for Iranians who wish to engage in business that evades US sanctions and it is also a frequent stop for senior Iranian officials who want to drink and chase women. The emissary carried two messages to the Iranians. One was that Obama has decided on serious negotiations with Iran but only after the scheduled June elections in Tehran, suggesting that the White House is sending the message that it would like to see a new, more acceptable president to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Second, Obama would like the Iranians to consider cooperating with NATO efforts against the Taliban in Afghanistan. This cooperation might consist of helping to resupply NATO troops with goods transiting through Iranian territory, but it could also include joint operations against any and all Sunni Islamic groups allied with al-Qaeda and who have declared Shi’ites to be heretics. That would include the Taliban and a number of Pakistani supported groups.
The second proposal is interesting because it contradicts nonsense being put out by the US command in Afghanistan suggesting that the Iranians are supporting the Taliban. It recognizes that the Iranians had previously worked with the Americans after 9/11 to support Western political objectives in Kabul, cooperation that ended after President Bush named Iran as part of the “axis of evil.” It means that Obama is actually getting good advice and is willing to listen.
Interestingly, the new secret channel is not being controlled either by Hillary Clinton or by special advisor Dennis Ross at the Department of State. Ross has been promoted by AIPAC as someone who will manage US/Iranian policy and Clinton is a hardliner vis-a-vis Iran. The emissary is reporting directly to the White House. The Israeli government is concerned about the signs of a moderate Obama policy towards Iran and has provided a list of “red lines” to Clinton. The red lines are not to be crossed by the Obama administration if it does not want to bring down the wrath of Israel and its Lobby.