DEPARTURES

Obama’s Overture to Iran

New administration, new foreign policy: The Obama administration is planning to invite Iran to an international conference on stabilizing Afghanistan. The move, which Secretary of State Clinton announced Thursday in Brussels, is a serious departure from Bush’s strategy of isolating the Islamic republic, which has resisted Western calls to end its nuclear program. Western diplomats say talks with Iran on Afghanistan at the summit, planned for June, would show that Washington and Tehran have mutual interests—both are enemies of the Taliban and have sought to halt opium poppy cultivation, for example. “If you are going to have a regional conference on Afghanistan you have to include the country that is on their western border,” said one administration official. “Whether or not Iran is prepared to play a positive role is another question.”