Then President Clinton attempted to persuade Iran to stop supporting terrorism and to normalize ties with the US. But he also failed to achieve results with Mohammad Khatami, the next Iranian president. President Khatami promised cooperation while secretly purchasing parts for Iran’s nuclear project.
Despite his harsh rhetoric, President George W. Bush, too, approached Iran. In 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice negotiated with Ali Larijani, then Iran’s top nuclear envoy. By the autumn, the Bush administration believed an agreement was set, expecting Mr. Larijani to appear at the UN to announce Iran’s suspension of uranium enrichment as America announced the removal of sanctions.
Secretary Rice showed up for the big event; Larijani never did.
When Obama took office in 2009, he missed the biggest opportunity to support democracy, bring stability to the region, and secure world peace when he wrote Ayatollah Ali Khamenei requesting negotiations. Then, fraudulent elections transpired in Iran, sparking the uprising of millions of Iranians demanding freedom and democracy.
The leaders of Iran masterfully, as always, provided a sliver of hope to Obama’s request, enough for the West to remain largely silent over the protests in Iran.The Iranian nuclear envoy even expressed confidence about an offer put on the table by the West in October 2009 as a step toward solving the nuclear issue. The Obama administration was ready to announce victory, though several months passed.