Iran has rebuffed another rapproachment effort by the
U.S. officials said Iran rejected a Bush administration offer to send a
high-level delegation to Teheran as part of relief efforts for survivors of
the earthquake last month in Bam. The administration sought to send a
delegation that included Sen. Elizabeth Dole and a member of the family of
President George Bush.
But Iran, amid criticism from clerics aligned with the Teheran regime,
rejected the U.S. offer. Officials said the Iranian regime was dismayed by
the conditions for reconciliation spelled out by Bush last week and also
feared that a U.S. rapproachment effort would divide the Islamic republic.
"We have heard back today from the Iranians that, given the current
situation in Bam and all that is going on there now, it would be preferable
to hold such a visit in abeyance," State Department deputy spokesman Adam
Ereli said on Friday. "Therefore, we are not pursuing it further at the
Officials said Bush was advised to suggest the visit of a high-level
delegation in an attempt to use the Bam earthquake to initiate a U.S.
rapproachment with Iran. Washington has sent a relief delegation of more
than 1,100 people and waived sanctions on Iran for three months to ensure
But the Iranian rejection of the U.S. offer appears to have ended the
administration's hopes for an imminent rapproachment effort. Officials said
the administration has backed off from any public gestures toward Teheran.
"We don't want to do anything that makes that more difficult," Ereli
said. "We want to help. And so we respect their wishes. The time is not
right. Would it be further in the future? That's a matter of speculation."