November 13, 2008

Abduction of Iranian diplomat could spur US-Iran cooperation

From the New York Times:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Gunmen abducted an Iranian diplomat in the chaotic city of Peshawar in Pakistan’s northwest Thursday, a day after the assassination of an American aid official there.
The diplomat, Hesmatollah Atharzadeh, who was the commercial counselor at the Iranian consulate, was leaving his house in the suburb of Hayatabad when the gunmen attacked, the police said. His driver also was killed.

Reports blame Taliban militants for the abduction as well as the surge in recent violence in Pakistan’s tribal areas.  Though the mounting crisis in Pakistan is a terrible tragedy, one can’t ignore the implications it could have on regional politics.
This most recent Taliban attack on an Iranian diplomat could push Tehran closer to cooperating with the US on Afghanistan and Pakistan.   With a common enemy in the Taliban, the US and Iran both stand to gain by teaming up to bring greater stability to the area.
Also, in light of the recent news about Obama’s plan to engage Iran on Afghanistan, (and I hate to belittle the news of this attack) this just might prove to be a catalyst for greater US-Iran cooperation.

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