Person of the Day

JANUARY 25, 2007
LAWRENCE WILKERSON, Former aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who says that the Bush Administration snubbed a package of concessions from the government of Iran in 2003. This report from the BBC: “Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilize Iraq following the US-led invasion. Offers, including making its nuclear program more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility. But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said. The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities. In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members. "We thought it was a very propitious moment to do that," Lawrence Wilkerson told Newsnight. But as soon as it got to the White House, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself. Observers say the Iranian offer as outlined nearly four years ago corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now.”