Rice/Iran Update

_Newsweek_ ran “this article”:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17050142/site/newsweek/ a few days ago which confirms, and provides additional, details about” Rice’s silliness”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1346/rice-what-iran-proposal RE: Iran’s spring 2003 proposal to the United States.

Hereafter, the relevant portions:

Asked about her comments later by NEWSWEEK, [Flynt] Leverett shot back: “If I had been in such a position I certainly would have done that. The two people who were in that position then were Elliott Abrams and Zal Khalilzad.” A spokeswoman for Abrams, who is currently the deputy national-security adviser for democracy promotion—but was then in charge of Mideast affairs—told NEWSWEEK on Thursday: “He has absolutely no recollection of getting any sort of fax at all.” (Khalilzad, soon to be the next ambassador to the U.N., was traveling abroad as special envoy to Afghanistan at the time, and is unlikely to have been in Washington when the fax came through.)

Such a proposal did find its way to the State Department in 2003, via Swiss ambassador Tim Guldimann. But a lot of questions remain about its origins and importance. Iranian officials insist that the document began as a U.S. trial balloon, possibly developed out of the office of former deputy secretary of State Armitage. But Armitage, in an interview this week, said he had nothing to do with creating the document and saw it for the first time as an Iranian fax. At the time, Armitage said, he thought it might have represented some creative diplomacy by Guldimann (who would not comment on the proposal to NEWSWEEK). “We couldn’t determine what was the Iranians’ and what was the Swiss ambassador’s,” Armitage said. His impression at the time was that the Iranians “were trying to put too much on the table,” Armitage added.

One small gripe I have is with _Newsweek’s_ claim to have “obtained” a copy of Iran’s proposal. To me, that implies (though does not say) that that info is some sort of _Newsweek_ exclusive. The document has been available “on the internets”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1083/irans-march-2003-offer for a while now.


Steve Clemmons has “this”:http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001935.php to add:

bq. Leverett has reported to this blogger that about 90% of what is available on the internet and in the press about the “content” of the Iran proposal is correct — but there is another 10% that has not been disclosed and that is critical to understanding the seriousness and consequential nature of what Iran put forward.

_Thanks to SLK for the tip._

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