Most Successful U.S. Negotiator with Terrorist Regimes Absent from Iran Nuclear Negotiations

by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa

Former Secretary of Energy, Governor of New Mexico, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson – known for successfully negotiating the release of hostages from Castro, Saddam, the Taliban, and the government of North Korea – has been noticeably absent from recent negotiations with Iran. Richardson recently joined The Costa Report to explain his winning approach when negotiating with hostile regimes.

According to Richardson central to success is connecting with your opponent to find common ground. Richardson says the process often begins with going to the other party’s country. Then, while in their country, observing and understanding what their real needs are. By determining what the other party perceives as being beneficial, the outcome of a negotiation can be designed to be advantageous to both sides. Richardson also encourages the occasional use of humor to break the tension during negotiations.

Also key to successful negotiations with terrorist governments is speaking in one voice. To this point, Richardson strongly urges Congress and the White House to put politics aside. Richardson believes the letter sent by Congress to Iranian leaders stating that any nuclear agreement struck by the President may be revoked by the next administration was a mistake. And Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was also a “bad idea.” Richardson’s experience has shown that “it is never a good idea to argue in front of all the world to see.”

When asked by the host of The Costa Report what Richardson would do differently were he charged with negotiating with Iran he indicated that he would like to see the discussions broadened beyond the scope of nuclear discussions to include the release of the four Americans currently held hostage including Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post correspondent, Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor, Amir Hekmati, former U.S. Marine and Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent. Releasing these hostages would indicate that Iran was serious about “being a part of the community of nations.” “If they really want an agreement with the U.S. they need to be cooperative” stated Richardson.

To listen to the complete interview with Bill Richardson visit