Analyst Michael Rubin offers some historical perspective on Western desires to have better relations with Iran, and Iran's consistent determination to acquire nuclear capabilities.
He starts his tale in 1989, with then President Bush announcing that: "Good will begets good will. Good faith can be a spiral that endlessly moves on." That was the same year that the Russians agreed to complete the nuclear reactor at Bushehr.
Some 10 years later, then Iranian President Khatami spoke of a "Dialogue of Civilizations." The Europeans expanded trade with Iran, and starting in 2003 negotiated with it to, among other things, abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapons. As Khatami's former spokesman put it in June 2008: "We had an overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, and a covert policy, which was continuation of the [nuclear] activities."
Rubin then fast-forwards to day: "When Mr. Obama declared on April 5 that 'All countries can access peaceful nuclear energy,' the [Iranian] state-run daily newspaper Resalat responded with a front page headline, 'The United States capitulates to the nuclear goals of Iran.' With Washington embracing dialogue without accountability and Tehran embracing diplomacy without sincerity, it appears the Iranian government is right."