I knew it because I had participated in briefly secret meetings in Rome with some knowledgeable Iranians. One of them provided us with details on some would-be assassins, indeed so many details that when they were passed on to our special-forces commanders, they were able to locate the killers and make sure they didn’t kill any of our guys.
A lot of nonsense has been written about the Rome meetings–the CIA station chief in Rome dispatched an angry cable to Langley full of errors (he wasn’t at the meetings, and only learned about them after the fact)–but the bottom line for me was that we’d obtained information that saved American lives. And it shows you a few things about the Iranians. For starters, that they are quite capable of acting like your best ally at the very moment they’re trying to kill your soldiers. Second, that story about “reformers” inside the Iranian regime has to be taken with a lot of salt. If the Iranians really wanted to change their relationship to the United States, they wouldn’t be killing us. Third, that if a rapprochement between Iran and the United States can be blown up by two words in a speech, it isn’t likely to work well even if the diplomatic censors remove the offensive language.
Keep that in mind as Rouhani and Zarif wage their charm offensive. And keep digging for the truth about Iranian activities. General Suleimani is no friend of ours; he wants us dead or dominated. That bit about his reconsidering everything about the United States is unworthy of a serious analyst.