Barack Obama was convinced during the campaign that one of the worst failures of the Bush administration was not "talking" to the Iranians. Of course, the Bush administration was talking to the Iranians — quietly, through back channels — and also coordinating/cooperating with the talks of European leaders. Obama's charge was always a canard.
But why was the Bush method of Iranian diplomacy a pretty smart thing? Well, for one, it can help avoid humiliating stuff like this:
US President Barack Obama's offer to talk to Iran shows that America's policy of "domination" has failed, the government spokesman said on Saturday.
"This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
"Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change," he added.
After nearly three decades of severed ties, Obama said shortly after taking office this month that he is willing to extend a diplomatic hand to Tehran if the Islamic republic is ready to "unclench its fist".
Looks like The One's charms have evaded the mullahs. Consider the fist still clenched, and (hopefully) Obama a little less naive.