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A breakthrough in Iran-U.S. relations – a proposal from Iran in 2003 in which "an end to Iran's support for anti-Israel militants and acceptance of Israel's right to exist" was offered – was shunted aside by then-National Security advisor Rice, according to a former member of the NSC.

And as Secretary of State, she lied last week – or rather "misled" – Congress about it, the ex-aide said today. Reuters has the he said/she said details.

Today, he said:

Flynt Leverett, who worked on the National Security Council when it was headed by Rice, said a proposal vetted by Tehran's most senior leaders was sent to the United States in May 2003 and was akin to the 1972 U.S. opening to China.

Speaking at a conference on Capitol Hill, Leverett said he was confident it was seen by Rice and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell but "the administration rejected the overture."

"The Bush administration up to and including Secretary Rice is misleading Congress and the American public about the Iran proposal."

She said:

Rice's spokesman denied she misled Congress and reiterated that she did not see the proposal.

... Testifying before a U.S. Congress committee last week, Rice, said about Leverett's previous public comments on the Iranian proposal: "I don't know what Flynt Leverett's talking about."

She faulted him for not telling her, "We have a proposal from Iran and we really ought to take it."

Ha ha ha. It’s his fault, you see! This whole Iran crisis could have been solved years ago if she’d only known! But of course! Yet ... he said:

... Powell, in a conversation about the Iranian proposal, told him [Leverett] he "couldn't sell it at the White House." This was evidence it had been discussed there, he said.

She said:

On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "What she said is she has no recollection of having seen it. She has said that repeatedly."

Ah, yes. The apparently highly infectious Amnesiac Defense Disease, running like the 1918 influenza through the White House. Who can be expected remember such a small thing as a proposal from Iran to concede Israel’s right to exist and stop arming anti-Israeli extremists? Why, the same people who forget whether they outed CIA agents, of course!

The proposal from Iran, which was relayed through the Swiss ambassador, can be viewed as a PDF file on the Washington Post website.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 05:30 PM PST.

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