When Henry Kissinger was making his way into China to negotiate China’s coming out details, all sorts of subterfuge was deployed to disguise Kissinger’s travel. The press was told that he was seriously knocked out with intestinal disorders while he was secreted out for a quick trip to Beijing.
Now, it seems, top Iran diplomats — well, at least one, Mohammad Nahavandian — are in Washington trying to talk to someone. Perhaps the White House is not picking up the phone, but the State Department seems to be up on some of the details.
The Financial Times had the scoop on this ten days ago, but I didn’t see the AFP story until this morning.
Here is the opener:
The US State Department confirmed a senior official from arch-US nemesis Iran was in Washington but would not say how he got into the country or what he was doing here.
Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Mohammad Nahavandian was in town but added, “He’s not here for meetings with US government officials to my knowledge; certainly not with members of the State Department.”
McCormack said Nahavandian had not been issued a visa but was in the United States legally. He did not elaborate but said only, “There are a variety of other ways for an individual to arrive in the country.”
This is hilarious, and yet disturbing.
Will someone remind our government elders that America is NOT China — and we don’t like Orwellian half-truths and big lies here.
I’m thrilled that someone in our government is apparently speaking to an Iranian diplomat — though we have no evidence anyone is actually speaking to Nahavandian yet — but to say that a senior Iranian official is in Washington with NO VISA but that’s OK because there are lots of other ways to get into the country legally — perpetuates the notion that a Mandarin class can be in the know while the public is lied to. (yes…I know that is reality, but I don’t like it.)
Kissinger was sneaking into a Communist country where lying to the public was the norm. That is not an acceptable norm here.
If the diplomat is here talking to us about a more rational course of action between the U.S. and Iran — and has been caught in the public spotlight — we need a better response than “we don’t know how he got here or what he’s doing — but he’s here so go on with your day.”
Anyway, it’s very good that we are talking to someone from Iran, though we aren’t sure who’s talking. Geez.
— Steve Clemons
Ed. Note: Thanks to FJ for the tip.
Here is a good earlier post on this same visitor.