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Leaked Docs Show CIA Chief Urged Obama To Engage Iran’s Leaders, Downplay Terror Ties

Among the hacked emails of CIA director John Brennan to be posted this week by WikiLeaks was a memo written after the 2008 election urging President-elect Barack Obama to “come to terms with” whoever was ruling Iran, Business Insider reported Wednesday.

In a post-election memo, purportedly written to Obama, Brennan laid out a pragmatic roadmap on dealings with Iran. His suggestions are similar to the carrot-and-stick approach the administration would eventually use in nudging Tehran toward joining negotiations over slowing the momentum of its growing nuclear reactor program.

“The United States has no choice but to find ways to coexist – and to come to terms – with whatever government holds power in Tehran,” Brennan said in the three-page memo. He added that Iran would have to “come to terms” with the U.S. and that “Tehran’s ability to advance its political and economic interests rests on a non-hostile relationship with the United States and the West.”

In the memo, Brennan advised Obama to “tone down” rhetoric with Iran, and swiped at former President George W. Bush for his “gratuitous” labeling of Iran as part of a worldwide “axis of evil.” Brennan also said the U.S. should establish a direct dialogue with Tehran and “seek realistic, measurable steps.”

Brennan served as a White House advisor on counterterrorism for President Obama for four years before becoming director of the CIA in 2013. His rapprochement recommendations match those he made in “The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence,” a paper he published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in July 2008.

Other leaked documents showed that Brenner advocated appointing former Secretary of State Colin Powell to serve as the president’s envoy to Iran, even though Iran remained on the State Department’s list of state sponsor of terror.

[Photo: CNN / YouTube ]