Brian Beutler describes efforts to hold US-Iranian talks strictly limited to the Iraq issue to be a “charade” since “as long as America and Iran are so bitterly at odds, the countries’ strategic objectives in Iraq will run counter to each other.” Exactly right. US-Iranian enmity isn’t rooted in disagreements about Iraq. Rather, we find it difficult to cooperate with the Iranians with regard to Iraq precisely because the overall state of US-Iranian relations is so poor.
Insofar as our goals in the Middle East include overthrowing the regime in Teheran and, short of regime change, doing everything possible to destroy the Iranian economy then, naturally enough, the Iranians are going to seek to thwart our goals. After all, they hardly have any choice of the matter.