During Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September, a U.S. diplomat presented this griffin-shaped chalice to an Iranian counterpart. The chalice, thought to have been looted from an Iranian cave, dates to the 7th century BC, some experts believe. (Mehdi Moazen / Islamic Republic News Agency / November 30, 2013)
A gesture of respect will gain more ground than all the showing of teeth there is. Iran has a people and a histiry that truly deserve our attention and respect. It’s a shame that the countries have been so distant for so long. With all due concern for what has gone wrong, I welcome closer ties. The kind that reduce mistrust and anger.
WASHINGTON — Many paths led to the international agreement to temporarily curb Iran’s nuclear program: secret meetings in Oman, formal negotiations in Geneva, and a quiet encounter in New York involving two diplomats and an exquisite silver chalice in the shape of a mythical winged creature.
The latter session led in September to the return of the chalice to Iran, where officials hailed it as a gesture of friendship by the United States. The move was orchestrated by a mid-level diplomat at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations who devised a way to work around a 30-year absence in formal relations.