All of that talk we have heard about the P5+1 talks being a result of the election of the supposedly moderate Hassan Rouhani as the new Iranian President is a bit of political hooey.
Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, who was brought into the administration by his mentor Hillary Clinton met with Iranian officials as far back as the summer of 2012, according to a new report.
July 2012 encounter happened in the midst of one of Clinton’s overseas
trips. He vanished during their stay in Paris, the AP reports, and
rejoined Clinton a few days later in Mongolia. In between, he flew to
Oman for the meeting.
The July 2012 meeting is one of the Obama administration’s
earliest known face-to-face contacts, and they were made a little over a year before Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left office.
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administration officials had previously confirmed to The Associated
Press that Sullivan and other officials held at least five secret
meetings with Iran this year, paving the way for an interim nuclear
agreement signed in November by Iran, the United States and five other
The cloak-and-dagger diplomacy may seem like a
tough assignment even for a grizzled foreign policy veteran, but
Sullivan is just 37 and looks even younger. Even-keeled and pragmatic,
Sullivan’s temperament mirrors that of President Barack Obama, people
close to him say. That helped him crack the tight-knit foreign policy
team at the White House where he serves as Vice President Joe Biden’s
national security adviser.
While Biden is a possible
presidential candidate in 2016, Sullivan remains loyal to Clinton and is
seen as her likely pick for White House national security adviser,
should she run for president and win.
“He’s essentially a
once-in-a-generation talent,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton
aide who worked closely with Sullivan during their tenure at the State
Sullivan’s contacts with the Iranians in 2012 and early 2013 were
largely focused on logistics and finding out whether Americans and
Iranians could even get in the same room together. But after Iranians
elected a new, more moderate president this summer, the meetings quickly
morphed into substantive discussions about ways to tame Iran’s disputed
As the Iranian negotiations continue we need to remember that they were begun without any moderation from the rogue nation, and Hillary Clinton’s hands were all over it.