In the past week, mixed progress as a US journalist is charged with spying amidst positive statements from both countries.
As Iranians celebrated the Persian New Year recently, they witnessed the start of indirect talks between Iran and the United States, in what promises to become a highly orchestrated effort to ease three decades of mutual hostility.
Each country is drawing lessons from failed past attempts at détente. They are learning from the mistakes of their respective former leaders, Bill Clinton and Mohamad Khatami, in the late 1990s, and the unbending stance of George W. Bush.
This week has seen mixed progress between the two nations. On Wednesday, in a departure from Bush administration policy, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the United States would become a "full participant," not simply an observer, at talks with Iranian officials about the nuclear issue. The talks include the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, and Russia – as well as Germany.
The same day, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he welcomed talks with the US if they were based on "honesty, justice, and respect."
But that gesture was marred by the announcement that a detained American journalist, Roxana Saberi, had been changed with spying and would be put on trial next week. The US has been pressing for her release since she was detained two months ago.
Page 1 of 4