A. Iran is being really awful by holding Iranian-American scholar and advocate HalehEsfandiari in prison as a political prisoner
B. This shows that the Iranian leadership are a bunch of pricks who don't want to negotiate or be engaged diplomatically
and C. The implicit message, which seems a tad explicit at the end - it will remain clear that the regime understands nothing other than brute force. - aka, in the song of McCain, Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran
Now, being a young whippersnapper, I'll probably look like a fool challenging Gerecht, who despite being something of a superhawk, is uber qualified to talk about the Middle East and Iran. So, I won't go into the minutiae of his article, seeing as I do not know as much about the inner workings or history of the Iranian regime. He does, however, make a key omission. This omission, however, is a deliberate, misleading act of commission, seeing as he is obviously well informed about Iran. Gerecht:
The clerical regime today is no more interested in reaching a peaceful modus vivendi with the United States than it was in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright all but begged President Mohammad Khatami of Iran to just talk to them.Now, I'm not going to argue that the Iranian regime is open or particularly interested in peacefully engaging with the US, but Gerecht is simply wrong about their efforts to negotiate. In what should be an impeachment level offense, the Administration, under the auspices of Cheney, rejected Iranian overtures to some sort of negotiations in 2003. Nick Kristof, about a month ago, detailed arguably the worst diplomatic travesty of the Bush administration.
I've long though that Iran and the US need not be natural enemies. Iran has a large, well educated, young, Internet savvy populace that seems to want US style liberal reforms, we both have an interest in eradicating the Taliban and there even cases of US special fores fidgeting side by side with Iranian troops in Herat, and if shit in Iraq really goes south, we may enact an "unleash the Shiites" plan b, which would essentially give even more power and influence to Iran in Iraq. But back to Iran's attempt to start negotiations and normalize relations with us. Kristof:
According to the notes of Professor Amirahmadi, the foreign minister told the group, ''Yes, we are ready to normalize relations,'' provided the U.S. made the first move.It gets even better, or worse, when you look at how it all turned out:
In the master document, Iran talks about ensuring ''full transparency'' and other measures to assure the U.S. that it will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran offers ''active Iranian support for Iraqi stabilization.'' Iran also contemplates an end to ''any material support to Palestinian opposition groups'' while pressuring Hamas ''to stop violent actions against civilians within'' Israel (though not the occupied territories). Iran would support the transition of Hezbollah to be a ''mere political organization within Lebanon'' and endorse the Saudi initiative calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.But of course, the Bush Administration "doesn't negotiate with evil" and squashed any hope of reaching a deal. Gerecht surely knows this, but its unclear of even the NYTimes op-ed reading public is aware of this administration idiocy and pigheadedness that might lead us to a disastrous, unnecessary, counterproductive war with Iran. Gerecht is no fool, but instead just a liar, or, more charitably, he picks his facts selectively.