The current New York Review of Books (11/02/06 issues) has a long, informative article on Defiant Iran by Christopher de Bellaigue... Some of the more memorable factual parts, which will likely be lost in a fog of propaganda sooner rather than later, include the following. Iran offered wide-ranging negotiations with the United States in 2003:
The fear of intervention by the US in Iran became more urgent among Iran's leaders when America invaded Iraq the following year. Indeed, it later became known that, in early 2003, the Iranian Foreign Ministry quietly sent Washington a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations, in which the Iranian government said it was prepared to make concessions about its nuclear program and to address concerns about its ties to groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, in return for an agreement from the White House to refrain from destabilizing the Islamic Republic and start lifting long-in-effect sanctions. The US rejected this overture out of hand. It seemed that Bush didn't want to offer guarantees to a regime that he intended, at a later date, to try to destroy.
And why would we? We were at the apex of our power, having put the fear of Allah into the Iranians by knocking off Saddam Hussein in short order and planting out flag on their border. Surely it would only be a matter of months before we could rattle our saber at Iran and force them to given in to our demands while making no concessions of our own. Alas, Iran learned the lesson all too well. Now that we are nearing the nadir of our power in the Middle East, Iran feels they can safely reject our demands on their nuclear program, no matter how we may bluster and threaten.
Where's Alberto Fernandez when you need him?