Iran 'Cooperates' on Its Own Terms

Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that Iran has managed to set its own terms for cooperation with the United States on Iraq.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Iran has charged three Iranian-Americans, including the scholar Haleh Esfandiari with endangering national security and espionage. Relatives and colleagues of the three have denied the allegations, which were made just a day after U.S. and Iranian ambassadors met in Baghdad.

NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr is following the evolving relationship between the U.S. and Iran, which he says may not turn out as Washington wants.

DANIEL SCHORR: Iran has lobbed one into America's court. In their first high-level official contact since the occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran almost three decades ago, Iran has managed to set its own terms for cooperation with the United States in improving Iraq's deteriorating security.

Cooperation is thus far limited to the unstable situation in Iraq. It was, as (unintelligible) drive at home that Iran, today, charged three Iranian-American intellectuals with espionage, which is a capital offense in Iran. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spoke of networks of spies. Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi also made clear that the new diplomatic channel could not be used to bring up the issue of Iranian nuclear development. It is to be a single purpose line of communication. The way it would work - as proposed by Iran - is that a special security committee of Iran, the U.S. and Iraq would be created to deal with Iraqi security problems. Not clear, is what happens when the security problem is created by Iran through shipments of arms to Shiite militias in Iraq. Iran has denied shipment of arms or dispatch of intelligence agents to Iraq.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said yesterday that he was looking for a change in Iranian behavior. Iran doesn't acknowledge that anything is wrong with its behavior. Iran emerged from the groundbreaking session with greater respect from the region and the world. Qomi said there would be more meetings, the next one, perhaps, in Tehran. This may turn out to signal a new chapter in America's tangled relations with Iran, though it may not be the chapter that the U.S. hopes for.

This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

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Bush Offers Putin a Trip to Kennebunkport

As the U.S.-Russian relationship sours, President Bush invites the Russian President Vladmir Putin for a rare visit at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

President Bush also focused his attention this past week on another troublesome foreign policy issue - the souring relationship between Washington and Moscow. That drew the attention of NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

DANIEL SCHORR: President Bush has entertained foreign dignitaries at the White House, at Camp David and on his Texas ranch. But on July 1st, he will host Russian President Vladimir Putin, where no foreigner has been hosted before -at George Bush Sr.'s ocean-side home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

This is patently an effort to patch up the worst relations between the United States and Russia since the Cold War. Hard words have been exchanged over President Bush's plan to position parts of an anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called Russian objections ludicrous. And just this past week, Rice said Russia seems to think and act in the zero-sum terms of another era.

Russia has announced that it will veto an American-backed plan to grant independence to Kosovo - once a province of Serbia. In a speech last month, Putin came close to comparing President Bush to Hitler. He said that America is trying to dictate just as the Third Reich did. And nasty comments from Secretary Rice and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, dominated the meeting of the foreign ministers of the G8 industrial powers this past week in Potsdam, Germany.

That meeting was in preparation for the upcoming G8 summit at a Baltic Sea resort in Germany, and that could be dominated by the Russian-American split as the foreign ministers' meeting was.

It was with all this bad feeling in mind that Mister Bush decided to make the grand gesture of inviting Putin to the very private home of his parents. But the president may have miscalculated. In my experience in Russia, I found that its leaders tend to consider such friendly gestures as signs of weakness. And if history is an indicator, Putin may well exploit his weekend at Kennebunkport, to reinforce hard-line positions and to tell his people back home that Russia is a superpower again.

This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

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