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Why Are We Negotiating With Iran?

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In his interview with me last week, General Petraeus confirmed what had already been acknowledged by other senior military officials: Iran is engaged in actions that are killing Americans in Iraq:

HH: General Petraeus, some of your staff have talked in recent weeks about Iranian government support for various elements of the enemy in Iraq, in the form of sophisticated explosives, some training. Has the amount of material and training from Iran to the enemy in Iraq increased or decreased over the past half year?

DP: Well, it’s hard to say. It certainly has not decreased, and it’s hard to say whether it’s increased or not, but it has remained very substantial. It’s something we track, sometimes we’re able to interdict some of it, sometimes we capture it or literally stop it. We captured, for example the other day, several dozen rockets that were all set up on timers, and aimed at one of our bases, and some of our air assets happened to see them, and we were able to defuse them, all clearly from Iran. Iran has indeed provided substantial funding, training, equipping, arming, and even direction, in some cases, to what are called the special groups or secret cells affiliated with the militia of Muqtada al Sadr. We captured the heads of the secret cells, as you may recall, several months ago, the Khazali brothers. And with them, we captured a senior Lebanese Hezbollah trainer, the deputy head of the Lebanese Hezbollah department that was apparently created to help the Iranian Quds force, the element that does provide this training, equipping, money and direction to the Iraqi secret groups, or secret cells.

Against this backdrop, as well as the announcement today by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would never stop its nuclear program, the decision yesterday to enter into prolonged negotiations with Iran about security conditions in Iraq is a huge misstep.

I interviewed AEI Resident Scholar Michael Rubin on the decision to enter into prolonged talks with Iran on today’s program. Rubin, the author of Eternal Iran, is convinced a crisis with Iran is imminent. The transcript of our conversation will be posted here later this evening.


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