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Negotiating With Iran, 1979 and 2012

11:40 AM, Apr 20, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
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Sherman, who leads the U.S. delegation, is now under secretary of state for political affairs. In the Clinton administration, Sherman was counselor to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and “policy coordinator” on North Korea. At the end of her tenure, she wrote in the New York Times that North Korea is “a country of immense pride.” She added that after the Albright trip to Pyongyang in October 2000, where Albright happily exchanged friendly toasts with her hosts, “North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, appears ready to make landmark commitments about the missile program. To ensure the survival of his regime, he has to improve the country's disastrous economy by reducing the burden of a vast missile program and opening the doors to trade.”

There is no record of Sherman acknowledging that her judgment on North Korea was wrong or suggesting that from the experience of failed Clinton and Bush policies toward North Korea she has taken any lessons at all. While talks continued for years, North Korea continued the development of nuclear weapons and of missiles—a somber thought in the context of the Iran negotiations. 

The next round of talks is scheduled for Baghdad on May 23. Ashton called the Istanbul talks “constructive and useful.” That reminded me of the last time an EU foreign minister stood next to Jalili and said, “The meeting of today has been constructive.” That was in 2007.  

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