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Pars Times Editor's Note About the Conference:
Should the U.S. Negotiate Directly with Iran? The recent WikiLeaks has revealed that US has had direct contacts with Iran. However, according to the Guardian, British Diplomats advised US on how to engage Iran. Containment has been the US policy towards Iran in the past 30 years because of lack of understanding about realities in the Mideast. Furthermore, the US has been concerned only with protecting Israel's security interest. Therefore, Iran's decision not to negotiate with the U.S in the short-term is logical and prudent as long as a firm security guarantee is not offered. Meanwhile, there is fear, hate and ignorance on both sides. Thirty year after the signing of the Algiers Accord, Iran is still holding Americans in Tehran. The US has responded in a similar fashion and Iranian nationals have been held in Iraq and Lebanon. Furthermore, there has been several cases of kidnapping or defections of Iranians. Therefore, one can infer that both sides prefer to resort to hostage taking instead of resolving issues through dialogue. Meanwhile, the GCC Arab states have been armed to the teeth and beyond. A war in the region seems eminent. Peace with Iran is possible, but it must be brokered by Britian who truly understands Iran and other countries in the region. The British promise in 1917 created Israel and most Arab states gained their independence from Britain. One could argue that the British created the Arab-Israeli conflict and are in a better position to solve it. It's noteworthy to mention that the UK's role was never discussed in this conference. Professor Pillar warned against a war with Iran towards the end of the lecture. He mentioned a simulation conducted by Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institute.
Published: Monday, May 23, 2011