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* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


Lady in red brings abrupt end to US-Iran gala dinner date
[ News Report]  [2007-05-05 02:38:48]
[Source: 5 May 07, Independent]


By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor

Published: 05 May 2007

It was billed as a chance for rapprochement between two countries - Iran and the United States - which have been estranged for almost three decades.

The distinguished guests had gathered for a beachside gala dinner on Thursday evening in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Such events are where the real business of diplomacy is often done - in this case on the sidelines of a conference on Iraq attended by foreign ministers of 50 countries.

The hosts had put on a feast of langoustine and beef, served with wine at the Sheraton hotel. A violinist was playing background music from the stage. Enter the Iranian Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki. The first thing he noticed was that he had been seated at the same table as the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Opposite her, in fact.

He then noticed the violinist, who was dressed in a long red evening dress and wrapped in a stole. Moments later - before Ms Rice arrived - he flounced out.

Was it because of the "scantily clad" violinist in the sleeveless red dress, as the Iranians are said to have complained?

Was it because of the seating plan, after the Iranians had made it clear that the Foreign Minister was not ready to talk to the head of the American delegation? Or was it the alcohol on the table?

The incident left other guests at Ms Rice's table, including the British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, bemused.

"I don't know which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the Secretary of State," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said wryly yesterday.

Whatever the explanation, the incident dashed any hopes of direct talks between Ms Rice and Mr Mottaki which would have been the highest-level contacts between the two countries since the Bush administration took office in 2001 and branded Iran as a member of the "axis of evil". Instead senior officials met informally yesterday - for three minutes.

Ms Rice was subjected to a broadside from Mr Mottaki yesterday, as he blamed the US "occupation" of Iraq for the bloodshed there.

But the Secretary of State was still holding out an olive branch in her closing press conference. "The opportunity simply didn't arise for the Foreign Minister of Iran and I to meet," she said. "I would have taken that opportunity." Mr Mottaki said: "There was no time, no appointment and no plans."

The scene had been set for the Rice-Mottaki dinner encounter after a cryptic lunchtime exchange on Thursday.

Mr Mottaki walked into the dining room greeting colleagues in Arabic. Ms Rice responded in English with "Hello", adding, "Your English is better than my Arabic."

The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, butted in, saying to Mr Mottaki: "We want to warm the atmosphere some." Mr Mottaki replied: "In Russia, they eat ice cream in winter because it's warmer than the weather." "That's true," said Ms Rice.

It was a far cry from the Americans' original hopes for the Sharm el-Sheikh conference.

Earlier in the week, Nicholas Burns, the US Undersecretary of State, made it clear that America was hoping for direct talks between his boss and the Iranian Foreign Minister.

He even mused aloud about whether the Chinese model of "ping pong" diplomacy could serve as a model for possible "wrestling diplomacy" to warm relations between Iran and the US, following last January's visit to Iran by the national US wrestling team.

But Thursday showed that "violin diplomacy" was not going to work either. The Iranians are still playing hard to get.

 





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