Rice’s Offer to Iran Is No Breakthrough

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The press is heralding Condoleezza Rice’s offer of direct talks with Iran as a signal of a new, more moderate, US approach to the standoff between the two nations, but there is little in her words to suggest any real change in Bush administration policy. What Rice actually said was: “[A]s soon as Iran fully and verifiably suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, the United States will come to the table.”

The Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottak on state television responded by saying that Iran “will not give up our nation’s natural right [to enrichment], we will not hold talks over it. But we are ready to hold talks over mutual concerns.” The BBC reports he also said, that if the US “is interested in any change in the existing situation, it should change its behaviour and behave properly and logically”.

In the United States, Rice’s statement has been hyped as a major new overture to Iran. Bush said, “I believe this problem can be solved diplomatically and I’m going to give it every effort to do so.”

Yet at the same time, the US is readying a set of tough demands, including sanctions that would affect the world oil markets It hopes Europe will embrace these sanctions in future dealings with Iran if the latter doesn’t abandon its plans for nuclear development.

Iran says it wants nuclear energy for power. The US says it wants to make bombs. The standard neo-conservative line on Iran has not changed. It argues there must be regime change, forced by military intervention if need be. According to this view, diplomacy is little more than a PR maneuver to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we have tried as hard as we could to negotiate with Iran, but failed. The same approach, of course, was used in the run-up to the Iraq war.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate