There's a fascinating article
in The Guardian exposing (as Tom Oliphant did; see the update to the post titled "Odd Lots") the fact that the press has completely misreported the US response to Iran (emphasis added):
To say the EU3's dialogue with Tehran was sufficient, as Washington did until this week, was the most astonishing example of multilateralism in the Bush presidency. A government that makes a practice of ignoring allies and refuses to accept the jurisdiction of bodies such as the International Criminal Court was leaving all the talking to others on one of the hottest issues of the day. Unless Bush is set on war, this refusal to open a dialogue could not be taken seriously.
The EU3's offer of carrots for Tehran was also meaningless without a US role. Europe cannot give Iran security guarantees. Tehran does not want non-aggression pacts with Europe. It wants them with the only state that is threatening it both with military attack and foreign-funded programmes for regime change.
The US compromise on talks with Iran is a step in the right direction, though Rice's hasty statement was poorly drafted, repeatedly calling Iran both a "government" and a "regime". But it is absurd to expect Iran to make concessions before sitting down with the Americans.
What's interesting is that this article brings out history that many people don't know about the US press's misreporting on the USSR's 1960s Premier, Nikita Khruschev and on Iran's President Ahmadinejad. In context, this suggests that there is a pattern by which the US embarks on a course toward war, with misreporting of statements by foreign leaders being a first step.
We were very lucky that the confrontation with the USSR did not end in war. We came much too close. A confrontation with Iran, while not as immediately deadly, could be just as damaging in the long run.