Another Iran mystery, foreign minister visits D.C.
A visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Washington, D.C., on the eve of the big talks in Geneva has our antennae twitching.
The State Department says Mottaki was just in town to inspect Iran’s unofficial diplomatic office at the Pakistani Embassy and nothing more (since the severing of diplomatic ties, Iran does not have an embassy in Washington).
Mottaki was apparently not in town for any back channel meetings with U.S. officials in D.C. ahead of talks in Geneva on Thursday between Iran and the United States and other powers.
“I wouldn’t read too much into this … it was a straightforward request and we granted it,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
It just seems like an incredible coincidence. Why the sudden urge to inspect the office? New furniture? Perhaps some paperwork that needed to be hand-carried?
Mottaki had to get special U.S. permission to come to Washington from the United Nations in New York. And this was the week after Iran was blasted by President Barack Obama for building a second nuclear enrichment site and a day before the Geneva talks.
So it had us wondering why? The U2 concert was last night, the cherry blossoms are long gone, and the shopping is better in New York.
We asked some Washingtonians, who knew as much as we did about the visit, to guess what it might be about and got some creative responses.
The bottom line, one longtime Washington insider says, “If you were intent on having secret talks, the last place you would want to have them would be D.C.”
That doesn’t solve the mystery. What do you think?
Photo Credit: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi (Iran’s foreign minister Mottaki in Sanaa in June)