A NEW IRAN TIMELINE EMERGES. Back in February, U.S. point man on Iran Nick Burns told the Brookings Institution (.pdf): 'We have got some time" for diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran to show results. Now State department officials are signaling, the window for multilateral diplomacy is "unwinding." The immediate cause of the change in tone? The U.S. is badgering allies on the UN Security Counil to impose a third round of sanctions on Iran for failing to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency on its nuclear program. "Look, the third round of sanctions is critical," a State Department official said.
Joe Volk, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying group in Washington, recently participated in a delegation of American Christian leaders that was received by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Since his return, he has been meeting with congressional foreign policy staffers to tell them about what his group heard in Iran and urge expanded U.S.-Iran dialogue. He discussed his trip with Laura Rozen.
Laura Rozen: Tell me about your group and the nature of the delegation with which you traveled to Iran.
On June 8, the trial of 28 American and Italian intelligence officials allegedly involved in the 2003 "extraordinary rendition" of an Egyptian cleric, Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr (known as Abu Omar), is to get underway in a Milan courtroom. Although the 26 CIA officers indicted will be tried in abstentia, it will be the first trial of suspects indicted for being involved in the United States' controversial extraordinary rendition policy. Laura Rozen interviewed the Milan prosecutor who investigated the Abu Omar rendition, Armando Spataro, by email.
From 1991 to 1993, a young lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve was working as a program manager in a Pentagon intelligence office. His name was Mitchell John Wade. His boss, the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, was Duane P. Andrews. Andrews's job at the Pentagon was essentially to serve as intelligence advisor to the secretary of defense. The secretary of defense at the time was someone that Andrews knew well and respected immensely: Dick Cheney.
This writer has reported extensively on a 2001 meeting in Rome between two then-members of the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, Iranian intelligence operatives, and the Italian intelligence service. Reading the DoD IG (Defense Department Inspector General) report on its investigation into the activities of Feith's office, and watching Friday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the report, were, therefore, somewhat surreal experiences.