It has now become undeniably apparent that Iran’s government is not only an avid sponsor of terrorism in the world but is actively engaged in terrorist acts of sabotage inside Iraq and murdering innocent ordinary Iraqi citizens as well as Iraqi politicians and coalition forces. U.S. ambassador to Iraq, U.S. politicians as well as U.S. commanders on the ground have time after time echoed this fact. Just last week, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, in an interview on CNN talked about a terrorist act by Iran in which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and their proxy forces disguised as American soldiers, driving American vehicles and speaking English raided a government compound in Karbala, killed one U.S. soldier at the scene and captured four others who were later slain. "We know they had built a mock facility in Iran and, in fact, it helped conduct the training and planning over there before they came back and executed that here in Iraq" Caldwell said.
The logic behind the time honored principle of not negotiating with terrorists is simple and strong. It rewards terrorism and emboldens terrorists. Negotiating with Tehran’s mullahs only heartens the most radical factions of the theocratic regime and vindicates the effectiveness of their tactics. Yet some think-tankers and a few politicians in Washington are prescribing negotiating with Tehran’s mullahs. To hide the stigma attached to "negotiating" with terrorists, these folks call it "engagement", "dialogue", "talk", "discussion", "channel of communication", "interchange" and "exchange". To further pale the dishonor, the sides of negotiation are made vaguer: "dialogue of civilizations", "engagement of the cultures".
Those advocating negotiation with Tehran’s mullahs come from a potpourri of backgrounds and interests. Some are direct proxy voices of the mullahs. Some are backed by the interest groups who benefit from commerce with mullahs. Some are politicians who see an opportunity for partisan gain. However, their arguments seldom differ. They claim that the only other alternative is war and therefore the logical option is to appease the mullahs. This narrow vision is idiotic and reckless. Both engagement and war are colossal mistakes with enormously disastrous consequences for the region and the world. Nevertheless, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. The appeasement proponents have been actively vocal and consequently pressure has mounted for the United States to make concessions to the Iranian mullahs.
But beggars can’t be choosers. Negotiating with mullahs mean negotiating with those who are directly involved in commissioning the murder of the Iraqi citizens and the American solders. This was the case on the Memorial Day, when the American Ambassador in Iraq met the Iranian envoy whose office is reportedly the headquarter for commanding Iran’s proxy forces in Iraq . What a way to observe Memorial Day!
Kazem Kazerounian is a professor at the University of Connecticut