Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, who was brought into the administration by his mentor Hillary Clinton met with Iranian officials as far back as the summer of 2012, according to a new report.
Sullivan’s July 2012 encounter happened in the midst of one of Clinton’s overseas trips. He vanished during their stay in Paris, the AP reports, and rejoined Clinton a few days later in Mongolia. In between, he flew to Oman for the meeting.The July 2012 meeting is one of the Obama administration's earliest known face-to-face contacts, and they were made a little over a year before Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left office.
Senior administration officials had previously confirmed to The Associated Press that Sullivan and other officials held at least five secret meetings with Iran this year, paving the way for an interim nuclear agreement signed in November by Iran, the United States and five other world powers.
The cloak-and-dagger diplomacy may seem like a tough assignment even for a grizzled foreign policy veteran, but Sullivan is just 37 and looks even younger. Even-keeled and pragmatic, Sullivan's temperament mirrors that of President Barack Obama, people close to him say. That helped him crack the tight-knit foreign policy team at the White House where he serves as Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser.
While Biden is a possible presidential candidate in 2016, Sullivan remains loyal to Clinton and is seen as her likely pick for White House national security adviser, should she run for president and win.
"He's essentially a once-in-a-generation talent," said Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton aide who worked closely with Sullivan during their tenure at the State Department.
Sullivan's contacts with the Iranians in 2012 and early 2013 were largely focused on logistics and finding out whether Americans and Iranians could even get in the same room together. But after Iranians elected a new, more moderate president this summer, the meetings quickly morphed into substantive discussions about ways to tame Iran's disputed nuclear program.As the Iranian negotiations continue we need to remember that they were begun without any moderation from the rogue nation, and Hillary Clinton's hands were all over it.