NEW DELHI – “Such very fine brains” filled with “such bad ideas.” That was how the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former United States senator and perhaps the keenest mind to enter US politics since World War II, once described India, where he was US ambassador in the 1970’s. That snappy description of my country is also a very good way to describe the current – and seemingly unending – contretemps between the leaders of Iran and the US.
As a new round of negotiations with Iran begins – with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton the first into the breach – finding a way to move Iran-US relations beyond their freighted past is an urgent matter. In both countries, deep and mutually paralyzing suspicion has poisoned relations for three decades. Negotiations in such an atmosphere are almost fated to failure.