Tags: Obama | Iran | outreach

Obama Likely to Create Iranian Outreach Post

By Rick Pedraza   |   Friday, 19 Dec 2008 03:16 PM

President-elect Barack Obama is likely to create a new senior administrative post to work on bettering relations with Iran, The Washington Times reports.

The post, which would focus on coordinating outreach to the rogue nation, build on the existing diplomatic framework, and address the dangers of proliferation regarding the Iran/nuclear issue, would support a pledge Obama made during the campaign to put Iran at the top of his administration’s agenda and be willing to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“There is every indication that they are seriously considering going this way," Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told The Times.

Members of Obama’s transition team, who met with representatives of 29 Jewish organizations in Washington Thursday, discussed a variety of international issues, including the new post, Iran, and the Middle East peace process.

"They assured us . . . that the Iran/nuclear issue is one of the things at the very top of the agenda," an attendee at the conference told the Huffington Post. "They repeated the idea that we should be focusing on it diplomatically and not just militarily.”

Reportedly under consideration for the senior Iranian outreach coordinator post are a number of senior career specialists, State Department officials and Iran specialists, The Times reported. The idea for the post reportedly had been discussed this month during the first transition meetings with secretary of state nominee Hillary Clinton.

Although Obama has made no official announcement regarding the post, Iranian specialists confirmed the position was in the works, according to JTA, the global news service of the Jewish people.

A preliminary list of candidates for the post reportedly include former special envoy for Arab-Israeli negotiations Dennis Ross, who worked for the Clinton and the first Bush administrations, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, the Times reported.

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