Report: Cheney rejected Iran concessions
Thu Jan 18, 5:06 PM ET
LONDON - An Iranian offer to help the United States
stabilize Iraq and end its military support for
Hezbollah and Hamas was rejected by Vice President
Dick Cheney in 2003, a former top State Department
official told the British Broadcasting Corp.
The U.S. State Department was open to the offer, which
came in an unsigned letter sent shortly after the
American invasion of Iraq, Lawrence Wilkerson, former
Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told
BBC's Newsnight in a program broadcast Wednesday
night. But, Wilkerson said, Cheney vetoed the deal.
"We thought it was a very propitious moment" to strike
a deal, Wilkerson said. "But as soon as it got to the
White House, and as soon as it got to the vice
president's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk
to evil' ... reasserted itself."
A spokesman for the State Department said Thursday he
wasn't aware of any letter from the Iranians to the
U.S. government in 2003.
"Far as I know, there's never been an offer from the
Iranian Government on those kinds of concerns," said
Tom Casey, the state department's deputy spokesman.
Wilkerson said that, in return for its cooperation,
Tehran asked Washington to lift sanctions and to
dismantle the Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian opposition
group which has bases in Iraq.
Iran also offered to increase the transparency of its
nuclear program, according to Wilkerson.
Wilkerson has been a frequent critic of the Bush
administration in general and Cheney in particular,
holding the vice president responsible for the
mistreatment of detainees and the failure of Iraq's