Glenn Kessler, Iran’s 2003 Offer, and an Apology

by Michael Rubin

I owe an apology to Glenn Kessler.

Last week, I noted that Trita Parsi’s internal e-mails show that he knowingly misled, if not lied, when he pushed the fable that Iran had, in 2003, offered a grand bargain which the Bush administration allegedly ignored. The offer is the subject of much myth-making, denied by everyone with direct knowledge of it, whether pro-engagement or hawkish on Iran.

However, while Glenn Kessler wrote about the 2003 offer, unlike other journalists, he did not endorse it and rather presented both sides of the issue. My apologies to Mr. Kessler for including him with the likes of Barbara Slavin and Nicholas Kristof, whose reporting was infused with politics and gullibility about their sources’ agenda.

That said, diplomacy must be based on the reality of what happened, not on a partisan narrative which supplants Tehran’s actual position. While Mr. Kessler’s writing is fair and accurate, and I was wrong to cite him, it seems unfortunate that the New York Times, USA Today, Yale University Press, and other outlets don’t correct what now increasingly appears to be an elaborate hoax.

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