(The US and Iran for all their differences have a surprising amount of overlap in their interests in Iraq. What is that common ground?) Well neither us nor the Iranians would like to see a new Saddam Hussein in Iraq, or an Iraq with WMDs, or a divided Iraq. (How about in terms of practicality? The US is accusing Iran of stoking the violence and training and equipping Shia militants, while Iran says the US is contributing to civilian casualties. So these basic differences are both superficial and deep.) I do know after 30 years, we and the Iranians instinctively see each other as the source of all the problems in the world. (One problem here also is whether Iran intends to form nuclear weaponry.) It's in the background, it forms us. basically we don't trust each other so whatever one does, it's going to be interpreted in the worst light. (How do you define the relationship between the US and Iran?) It's a paradoxical one because it's no war, but no peace. I'm saying at this point it's time for mediation. (It's a bit surprising for people to hear you take a softer line given the fact that you were a hostage in Iran 30 years ago.) That was not a positive experience, but I'm not alone in this. Others have been saying this. I knew Iran from before and this was to me an aberration, something unexpected and that doesn't fit in with what I knew about Iran. I can't go on and say because of this, the whole country and system is infinitely evil.