Tuesday, April 28, 2009
When Iranian government official Ahmad Samavati arrived in Washington, D.C., in February at the head of a five-man negotiating team, he thought he had an offer the Obama administration couldn’t refuse.
The Iranian regime was going to turn over scores of top al-Qaida operatives, including some on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list.
To Samavati’s surprise, the State Department officials he met declined the offer. “They told him they did not want any al-Qaida people. They told him they didn’t want them in the United States,” an Iranian source familiar with the negotiations told Newsmax.
The decline, and the very fact that the Iranian regime sent Samavati to Washington in the first place, shows the profound policy shift that has occurred in both Tehran and Washington since Barack Obama became president.
But Washington seems to be going in one direction and Tehran in another.
In the annual report on terrorism it released last April, the State Department blasted Iran for its unwillingness to cooperate in arresting, rendering, or controlling al-Qaida members operating from its territory.
“Iran has repeatedly resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its AQ [al-Qaida] detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for interrogation or trial. Iran also continued to fail to control the activities of some AQ members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” the report stated.
Obama’s determination to shift gears on Iran is no secret.
He announced his intention to negotiate with the regime during the presidential campaign, and he has repeated that determination many times since taking office.
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