In the 1980s, the Reagan administration was involved in deep negotiations with Iran over arms sales and normalization of US-Iranian ties. National Security Council staffer Oliver North could barely contain himself over the prospect of peace with Iran.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, then speaker of Parliament, promised American authorities resumption of diplomatic relations once the founder of the Islamic regime, Ayatollah Khomeini, was dead. In exchange, he asked for arms and America’s help in diminishing Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military machine.
I was in the Revolutionary Guard then, but as a CIA spy. My Guard commander mocked the Americans for believing Speaker Rafsanjani’s promises. The Iran-Contra Affair, in which US arms sales to Iran funded “freedom fighter” Contras in Nicaragua, ended embarrassingly for President Reagan’s administration.
President George H.W. Bush continued negotiations to improve US-Iranian relations. I was working for the CIA in Europe then when my American handler told me to consider the more moderate Rafsanjani, by then president, as the new king of Iran. This despite information I had passed on about Iran’s involvement in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland – and despite the fact that Rafsanjani and other regime leaders were involved in worldwide terrorism and assassination. The elder Bush’s efforts at negotiation failed.