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No ‘Substantive Meetings’ With Iran Planned Next Week

Iran is going to attend next week’s U.N. conference on Afghanistan at the Hague, but State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid (it’s pronounced “do-good”; don’t act like you weren’t wondering) says not to expect much in the way of U.S.-Iranian discussion:

MR. DUGUID: …On your question about meetings. No substantive meetings are planned with Iranian officials at this time.

QUESTION: When you say no substantive meetings, are you – is the Secretary planning on having a chit-chat over coffee, you know –

MR. DUGUID: A chit-chat over coffee is –

QUESTION: — on the sidelines of the meeting?

MR. DUGUID: — is a substantive meeting. And a non-substantive meeting is a meeting in the way in and on the way out. So the answer is we had plans for no substantive meetings at this time.

Well, why not? Secretary Clinton personally invited the Iranians. She and Richard Holbrooke just want to peer at them from across the table?

They will speak. We will listen to them. We will hear their points of view. And they will also hear our points of view in a discussion about Afghanistan. That is not, I think, the particular question. The particular question, as Sue defined it, was the U.S. and Iran using this particular meeting to sit down and talk about other things. There are no plans for that at this time.

Maybe there’ll be a breakout session chance encounter or the relaying of messages through intermediaries. All furtive diplomacy resembles the junior high lunchroom.

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