LONDON An Iranian offer to help America stabilize Iraq and end its military support for Hezbollah and Hamas was rejected by Vice President Cheney in 2003, a former top State Department official told the British Broadcasting Corp.
The State Department was open to the offer, which came in an unsigned letter sent shortly after the American invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, told BBC's "Newsnight" in a program broadcast Wednesday night. But, Mr. Wilkerson said, Mr. Cheney vetoed the deal.
"We thought it was a very propitious moment" to strike a deal, Mr. Wilkerson said. "But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the vice president's office, the old mantra of We don't talk to evil' ... reasserted itself."
A spokesman for the State Department said yesterday that he wasn't aware of the Iranian letter.