RealNews

Jordan Promoting U.S.-Iran Contacts

Quid Pro Quo on Al Qaeda Sought. Jordan’s King Abdullah is quietly trying to broker a deal that would lead Tehran to surrender about 70 al Qaeda operatives, including the son of Osama bin Laden, in exchange for U.S. action on the largest Iranian opposition group now based in Iraq, according to U.S. and Middle East officials. Abdullah, who is hoping to revive dialogue between the United States and Iran, discussed prospects with the Bush administration during a private visit to Washington on Thursday and Friday. He visited Tehran earlier this fall, the first visit by a Jordanian leader in a quarter-century, the officials said. Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher also traveled to Iran for further talks shortly before the king’s U.S. visit. Jordan’s effort reflects growing interest in the Middle East in seeing the United States reopen informal talks with Iran, which were suspended after three sessions in Europe earlier this year. During his tour of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria last week, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was also urged to improve relations with Iran. Full Story

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