Iran is making repeated efforts to convince the United States to begin direct the Iranian nuclear enrichment program, according to international officials, The Washington Post
While the US is still known in Iran as the "Great Satan," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the first move towards reestablishing relations in a letter he sent to President George W. Bush some three weeks ago. The letter was endorsed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Analyst Saeed Laylaz said that Ali Larijani - chairman of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and Iran's chief negotiator - requested that IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei stress Iran's willingness to hold talks during his scheduled meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Laylaz added that requests for direct contact with the US have also been channeled through Indonesia, Kuwait, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
"They're desperate to do it," a European diplomat in Teheran told the Post
Bush's government has rebuffed the Iranian overtures, preferring Iran to negotiate with the European heavy hitters in the escalating nuclear crisis.
However, the Post
reported, US officials revealed that policy experts have been attempting to persuade Bush to respond to Ahmadinejad, arguing that while the sentiments expressed in the letter could be construed as less than conducive to diplomacy, the gesture - the first of its kind since the US and Iran ceased diplomatic relations in 1979 - was significant.