There are many other reasons why the Bush administration should engage with the Iranians directly and thereby shape the agenda and greatly influence the outcome.
First, in view of Washington’s stated policy of regime change in Iran, Tehran has every reason to suspect its intentions and to accuse the administration of duplicity. By refusing to participate in direct negotiations, Washington is demonstrating a complete lack of sincerity and so only reinforcing such suspicions. Iranian suspicions are also fuelled by the absence of a coherent U.S. policy, which contradicts President Bush’s insistence that America seeks a diplomatic solution.
Therefore, as long as the administration’s stated policy is regime change, Iran wants security guarantees from the United States that it will not be attacked. Having witnessed close up what happened to Iraq, another member of Mr. Bush’s axis of evil, Tehran has no reason to feel sanguine about the administration’s designs. For this reason the Iranians feel that direct negotiation, leading to an agreement with Washington, is crucial to their national security.