Today, the Obama transition team floated the idea the new administration would try and turn Afghanistan into a regional operation. Included in this idea maybe an attempt to reach out to Iran.
President-elect Barack Obama plans to try a more regional approach to the war in Afghanistan including possible talks with Iran, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing national security advisers to Obama.
As my earlier examples showed, it is certainly possible to reach out to tyrants, like Iran, as long as they are convinced that a lack of action would eventually threaten their own hold on power.
The problem here is that there is no threat to Iran if Afghanistan continues to be in chaos. The longer we continue to be involved in the theater, the more difficult it will be for us to confront Iran over their nuclear arsenal. Furthermore, Afghanistan holds little strategic value in the Middle East. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they were never a threat to Iran. Iran will only act in self interest. They will only act if a lack of action is a threat to itself. Here there is no such a threat.
Short of this there is little that the Obama administration will be able to offer Iran in order to get them to play ball. They certainly aren't going to get involved out of altruism. A stable Afghanistan is not necessarily in their best interest, and a chaotic one has some benefits for Iran. Getting Iran on board a regional operation in Afghanistan is a nice idea, but it will only happen if they are presented with a self motivating interest. Without it, this is pure fantasy from the Obama campaign.