The next President should:

“Deal with those who hold power in Iran, namely Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”
Iran: Is Productive Engagement Possible?, Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment, Policy Brief No. 65 October 2008 (via)

I wonder how far that would get, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Also from this report:

“Around the same time the next U.S. president is inaugurated, the Iranian revolution will mark its thirtieth anniversary. Given three decades of compounded mistrust and ill will, the results of any process of engagement will not be quick; such antagonism will not melt away after one, two, or even many meetings. The initial pace will likely be painfully slow, as each side ascertains whether the other truly has good intentions. Furthermore, given the potentially enormous implications that a changed relationship with Washington would have for the Islamic Republic’s future, there are a variety of reasons why even a sincere, sustained American attempt at dialogue may not initially bear fruit.”

But even trying to have a diplomatic relationship with Iran has got to be better than the crazy situation we have now. Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards have thrived on Iran’s isolation and fear; their hold on the Iranian government won’t lessen until Iran is brought back into the international community. Yes, Khamenei is nuts, but the Iranians are like most of the world’s citizens: they just want consumer goods, clean drinking water, better government, and more money. Oh, and to know the United States Air Force won’t be bombing their cities any time in the near future. The whole world saw what the U.S. did the Baghdad; they haven’t forgotten and they shouldn’t forget it. So the diplomacy is going to have to extra special on our side and it could take a while. Whether it’s Hillary or not, I dearly hope the next Secretary of State and State Department are up to the job (for a change).

Hope! Change! Rah! Rah! Rah!

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