First Formal US-Iran Talks since 1980


Juan Cole on the first formal US-Iran talks since 1980

Do the United States and Iran have things to talk about? Yes. They have several common interests, which could be stressed and developed fruitfully.

1. Shiite Iran is a deadly enemy of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which the US is also fighting. Instead of making up silly charges against Iran, the US could explore avenues of cooperation against these enemies.

2. Shiite Iran is a deadly enemy of the Iraqi Baath Party and of the radical Salafi Jihadis who are responsible for most of the violence in Iraq and for most of the killings of US troops. There are ways in which the US and Iran could cooperate in defeating these forces, which are inimical to both Washington and Tehran.

3. Shiite Iran is happy with the Shiite led government of Iraq and wants to see Iraq’s territorial integrity maintained. Supporting the al-Maliki government and keeping Iraq together are also goals of the United States.

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