MORE ON IRAN. In addition to Garance and Laura Rozen's comments, it's worth heeding cautionary notes from both Kevin Drum and Ivo Daalder that Condoleezza Rice may be (whether in deliberate bad faith or not) putting too many demands for Iranian concessions on the table as preconditions for negotiation. That concern notwithstanding, as The Washington Post's piece on her announcement notes, Rice has certainly appeared to serve as a force in the administration for moving in the direction of engagement since she became secretary of state, and today's news seems to bolster that view.
The news serves as another pretext to plug this truly terrific article by Gareth Porter in the latest print issue of the Prospect which provides a thorough and insightful rundown of the complete history of the Bush administration's policy towards Iran. Repeatedly -- and most dramatically and explicitly in 2003 -- overtures from Tehran were extended to the administration, and the administration rejected them. It's exceedingly difficult to argue that subsequent events, and the current situation, have vindicated those policy decisions.