Cavuto credited Operation Swarmer with spurring Iran's U.S. overtures, but Iranian overture reportedly occurred first

››› ››› ROB MORLINO

Fox News' Neil Cavuto falsely suggested that the current U.S. offensive in the Sunni Triangle spurred Iran to seek negotiations with the U.S. for the first time in more than two decades. A March 16 Associated Press report noted that the announcement that Iran was open to talks about Iraq with the U.S. came in response to a request for such talks a day earlier -- before the Iraq operation began -- by senior Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who has "close ties to Iran."

During the March 16 edition of the Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, host Cavuto suggested that that the current U.S. "Operation Swarmer" offensive in the Sunni Triangle spurred Iran to seek negotiations with the United States for the first time in more than two decades. At the beginning of a segment during which Cavuto interviewed two of the former hostages from the 1979 siege of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran about their reaction to Iran's offer, Cavuto said, "Now Iran wants to talk. As U.S. troops come down hard on insurgents in Iraq, Iran calls for direct talks with the U.S. on Iraq"; earlier in the program, Cavuto promoted the segment with the question: "What if I told you it's things like this operation in Iraq that has Iran coming to the table?" But Cavuto's suggestion that the Iran overture followed the launch of Operation Swarmer is false. A March 16 Associated Press report noted that the announcement that Iran was open to talks about Iraq with the U.S. came in response to a request for such talks a day earlier -- before the Iraq operation began -- by senior Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who has "close ties to Iran."

From the March 16 edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: What if I told you it's things like this operation in Iraq that has Iran coming to the table? Wait 'til you hear what a top Iranian official just offered and why a couple of former hostages held in Iran say, "Don't waste your time with these guys."

[...]

CAVUTO: This is a Fox News alert. Now Iran wants to talk. As U.S. troops come down hard on insurgents in Iraq, Iran calls for direct talks with the U.S. on Iraq. This is the first time now since the '79 hostage crisis that Iran has officially called for dialogue with the United States.

From a March 16 Associated Press report by writer Ali Akbar Dareini:

A top Iranian official said Thursday that his country was ready to open direct talks with the United States over Iraq, marking a major shift in Iranian foreign policy a day after an Iraqi leader called for such talks.

[...]

The statement marked the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran had officially called for dialogue with the United States, which it has repeatedly condemned as "the Great Satan."

The proposal to hold direct talks on Iraq came in response to a request a day earlier from senior Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim.

Al-Hakim has close ties to Iran, and heads one of the main Shiite parties in Iraq, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

"I demand the leadership in Iran open a clear dialogue with America about Iraq," al-Hakim said. "It is in the interests of the Iraqi people that such dialogue is opened and to find an understanding on various issues."

Larijani said Iran will officially name negotiators for direct talks with the United States but declined to give further details.

"These talks will merely be about resolving Iraqi issues," he told the parliament, without singling out any issues.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Neil Cavuto
Show/Publication
Your World w/ Neil Cavuto
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