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Parsi: U.S.-Iran Talks May Not Make Headway

Interviewee: Trita Parsi
Interviewer: Lionel Beehner
May 3, 2007

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, says he would welcome talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on the issue of Iraqi security but says they should be broadened to include Iran's deteriorating human rights situation. Also, he warns that if the negotiations “do not take into account a wider range of issues in the region and take place in a mindset of enmity—that narrative of U.S.-Iranian relations that has existed on both sides—then it’s difficult to see how talks can make a lot of headway.”

He says that Iran wields influence over Iraq but does not hold a “silver bullet.” Its positive involvement after the 2001 war in Afghanistan provides a useful model, Parsi says. Without Iranian influence in Afghanistan, “the United States would not have likely won the peace in Afghanistan.” Parsi also believes it is “inevitable” that Iran’s nuclear program will be discussed in any direct negotiations. “The Iranians will not help us out in Iraq without getting something in return on the nuclear issue,” he says.

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